Legal Center Press Releases
Press Releases

October 30, 2014 - Legal Center Welcomes Joshua Bone, New Legal Fellow

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) welcomes Joshua Bone as its 2014-15 Campaign Legal Center Legal Fellow.  Mr. Bone is the third Fellow to hold the one-year position designed for recent law school graduates interested in issues relating to campaign finance, voting rights and other election law issues.  The Campaign Legal Center gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation for providing the funding support for CLC to launch its Legal Fellow program in  2012.

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October 29, 2014 - Campaign Legal Center Urges Federal Court to Reject Challenge to Wisconsin Restrictions on Coordinated Spending

Today, the Campaign Legal Center submitted an amicus brief to theU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, to be filed upon leave of the court, in Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates (CRG) v. Barland.  The brief urges the court to reject CRG’s motion to enjoin Wisconsin’s restrictions on the coordination of expenditures between candidates and outside groups.The court has already entered a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law.

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October 24, 2014 - Groups Challenging FEC Dismissal of Crossroads GPS Complaint File Reply Brief

On Wednesday night, in Public Citizen v. FEC, reform groups filed a reply brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reiterating a request that the court declare the FEC’s dismissal of a complaint against the secretive 501(c)(4) political group Crossroads GPS contrary to law, and arbitrary and capricious.

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October 22, 2014 - District Court Rejects Challenge to Colorado Disclosure Provisions for Electioneering Communications

Today, in Independence Institute v. Gessler, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed a challenge to the “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions enshrined in Colorado’s state constitution.  The state measure is materially indistinguishable from the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure statute which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.  On September 25, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief to defend Colorado’s law.

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October 22, 2014 - Distinguished Litigator Roger Witten Joins Campaign Legal Center Board

The Campaign Legal Center is pleased to announce that Roger Witten is joining the organization’s board of directors.  Mr. Witten is Senior Counsel at WilmerHale where he co-chaired the litigation department for a number of years.

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October 20, 2014 - Washington Area ABC Affiliate Continues to Violate Ads Disclosure Rules Drawing Another FCC Complaint

This evening, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation filed a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alleging violations of long-standing rules and law by WJLA, an ABC-affiliated broadcast station in Washington, D.C.  The complaint notes that WJLA continues to refuse to disclose the "true identity" of the sponsor of political ads being run by NextGen Climate Action Committee and asks for expedited action given that Election Day is just a few weeks away.

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October 18, 2014 - Supreme Court Leaves Hundreds of Thousands of Texans Without the Ability to Vote  

This morning, in Veasey v. Perry, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop a Texas photo voter ID (SB 14) law from being used in the upcoming election, despite the fact that one week earlier a U.S. District Court ruled the law unconstitutionally racially discriminatory and a poll tax.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had subsequently stayed that ruling, leaving SB 14 in effect due to concerns that striking down the law now would disturb the upcoming election. The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law, and has argued that permitting the photo ID law to remain in effect will cause more confusion for voters and election officials.

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October 15, 2014 - Texas Voters File Emergency Appeal with Supreme Court to Stop Texas Discriminatory Voter I.D. Law

This morning, Texas voters and elected officials filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stay that would leave a Texas voter ID law in place for the coming election, despite the fact that a lower court had ruled the law unconstitutionally discriminatory and a poll tax.  The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law.

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October 15, 2014 - Groups from Across the Political Spectrum Call for Reform of the Congressional Ethics Process

Today, a range of groups from across the political spectrum called on both the House and Senate to make significant reforms to their ethics processes to increase public confidence in the integrity of the institution. At a roundtable event on Capitol Hill to be aired later by C-Span, the groups discussed proposed reforms with staff from congressional offices as well as reporters.

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October 14, 2014 - Fifth Circuit Reinstates Confusing Texas Voter I.D. Law for November Election

Tonight, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstated the State of Texas’ Voter Photo ID (SB 14) law in Veasey v. Perry, just five days after a U.S. District Court struck down the law finding it had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”  The District Court also found it to be an unconstitutional poll tax. The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law.

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October 9, 2014 - Texas Voter I.D. Law Struck Down as Unconstitutionally Discriminatory, Violative of Voting Rights Act and a “Poll Tax”

Tonight, a federal court struck down Texas’ Voter ID (SB 14) law as an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote in Veasey v. Perry.  Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi found SB 14 had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”  Further the court held that the law constituted an “unconstitutional poll tax.”  The Campaign Legal Center was part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law.

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October 9, 2014 - FEC Invites More Influence Buying in Washington – Approves Request to Double Limits on Contributions to RNC & DNC
 
Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ignored the laws passed by Congress in order to provide wealthy individuals a way to double the amount they can contribute to the national political parties. Vice Chair Ann Ravel joined with Republican Commissioners to greenlight the gutting of existing federal limits on contributions to national political parties established in the wake of Watergate.  A single individual can now give more than $250,000 to either the RNC or the DNC each presidential cycle.

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October 8, 2014 - Appeals Court Affirms Sweeping Decision Upholding Texas Campaign Finance Laws
 
Today, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District affirmed a sweeping lower court decision upholding numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law in Texas Democratic Party v. King Street Patriots.  The Campaign Legal Center filed amicus briefs in both the district court and the Court of Appeals defending the constitutionality of Texas’s campaign finance laws.   

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October 8, 2014 - Watchdogs Urge FEC to Reject RNC & DNC Request to Open Soft Money Loophole for Convention Funds

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, strongly urged the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to reject the request from the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) seeking to undermine the existing federal limits on contributions to national political parties established in the wake of Watergate.  The watchdog groups filed comments on the FEC’s draft responses to Advisory Opinion Request 2014-12, where the national party committees seek permission to raise funds for party conventions under a separate contribution limit.

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October 7, 2014 - Miami Hosts Latest Voting Rights Institute to Train New Generation of Voting Rights Lawyers

Today, Campaign Legal Center’s latest Voting Rights Institute training will take place in Miami, Florida. At the session, co-hosted by American Constitution Society, practitioners will learn the ‘ins and outs’ of protecting the right to vote through the enforcement of voting rights laws.  Cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution will be a particular focus of the training.  

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October 6, 2014 - District Court Rejects Challenge to Disclosure Provisions Upheld by Supreme Court in Citizens United

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge to the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions in Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission (FEC). Last month, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief in the case, urging the Court to reject the suit, arguing that the exact same disclosure provisions had been upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.

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October 6, 2014 - Groups from Across Political Spectrum Urge House Leaders to Strengthen House Ethics Process

Today, a broad range of reform, conservative and taxpayer organizations joined with scholars to urge House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to strengthen the House ethics process. The National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense and Judicial Watch joined reformers in calling on the bipartisan House Leaders to make the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) permanent, to grant the Office subpoena power and to bring the work of the House Ethics Committee out from behind closed doors through increased transparency in the process.  

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October 1, 2014 - Court Dismisses Challenge to SEC’s Pay-to-Play Rules Covering State Investment Funds

Last night, in New York Republican State Committee v. SEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge to an SEC pay-to-pay rule.  The regulation bars investment firms from managing state assets for two years after a firm or its associates make more than de minimis contributions to officeholders or candidates in a position to award investment contracts.   The lawsuit was brought by the state Republican parties of New York and Tennessee, both of which argued that the rule indirectly affected their fundraising, and burdened their members and candidates.

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September 25, 2014 - District Court Urged to Reject Challenge to Colorado Disclosure Provisions for Electioneering Communications

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief in Independence Institute v. Gessler, urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to dismiss a challenge to the Colorado Constitution’s “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions.  The state law is materially identical to the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure statute which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.  Plaintiff recently filed a suit challenging that federal statute as well.

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September 24, 2014 - 7th Circuit Overturns Ruling Halting ‘John Doe’ Investigation of Gov. Walker’s Campaign in Wisconsin 

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court order that halted an investigation into apparent illegal coordination between the campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and ostensibly “independent” outside groups.  In May, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa issued a preliminary injunction in O’Keefe v. Chisholm halting the Wisconsin prosecutors’ investigation and ordering them to destroy evidence gathered in the case tying the Governor and his campaign to outside groups, including Wisconsin Club for Growth.  On August 8, 2014, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed an amici brief, focusing on the flawed constitutional argument the Judge relied upon in enjoining the investigation, and urging the Seventh Circuit to reverse the district court order.

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September 24, 2014: An Overview of Political Advertising Rules: Candidate Ads vs. Independent Expenditures vs. Electioneering Communications vs. Issue Ads

The airwaves across the country are flooded with political advertisements and it’s only going to increase as Election Day approaches.  Candidate ads, independent expenditure ads, electioneering communications and issue ads are everywhere.  What are they, who can fund them and what are they required to disclose about their funding to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? A new easy-to-read chart from the Campaign Legal Center has the answers all in one place.

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September 19, 2014 - District Court Urged to Reject Challenge to Disclosure Provisions Upheld by Supreme Court in Citizens United

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief in Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss a challenge to the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.

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September 4, 2014 - House Leaders Urged to Publicly Commit to OCE’s Continued Existence in 114th Congress

Today, a diverse coalition of congressional scholars and watchdog groups urged House Leaders from both Parties to publicly commit to the continuation of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for the 114th Congress and to do so well in advance of the coming elections.  The letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) notes OCE’s outstanding record and urges the House leaders to resist persistent calls from some in their respective caucuses to do away with the independent ethics investigator.

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August 29, 2014 - District Court Urged to Uphold SEC’s Pay-to-Play Rules Covering State Investment Funds
 
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed an amici brief in New York Republican State Committee v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to deny a preliminary injunction and dismiss the latest challenge to pay-to-play laws. 

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August 14, 2014 - Watchdog Groups Call on IRS to Adopt New Rules on Timely Basis to Prevent Tax Laws from Being Misused to Hide Donors Financing Campaign Activities in 2016 Elections

In a letter sent today to the IRS, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center summarized comments they had submitted regarding the ongoing IRS rulemaking proceeding to consider new regulations to govern eligibility for section 501(c)(4) tax status.

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August 8, 2014 - Seventh Circuit Urged to Overturn Ruling Which Ignored Precedent to Halt Wisconsin Investigation of Coordinated Spending with Gov. Walker’s Campaign
Judge’s Error-Riddled Ruling Also Ordered Prosecutors to Destroy Evidence
 
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed an amici brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to reverse a district court order that halted an investigation into allegations of illegal coordination between the campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and ostensibly “independent outside groups.” The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa in O’Keefe v. Chisholm additionally ordered prosecutors to destroy evidence gathered in the case tying the Governor and his campaign to outside groups, including Wisconsin Club for Growth. The brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 focuses entirely on the flawed First Amendment argument utilized by the Judge to enjoin the investigation.

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August 7, 2014 - FCC Launches Rulemaking in Response to Watchdog Petition

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a rulemaking to expand online political file requirements to cable satellite and radio.  The action came in response to a petition filed last week by the Campaign Legal Center, the Sunlight Foundation, and Common Cause.  The FCC notice requests public comment on the organizations’ petition to extend cable and satellite providers the requirement to post their public files online that now cover broadcasters.  In recent years, the amount of political advertising on these other outlets has jumped significantly and is expected to grow even more.

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August 5, 2014 - Fifth Circuit Denies True the Vote’s Attempted Late Entry into Texas Voter I.D. Challenge

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the effort by the organization True the Vote (“TTV”) to intervene in the Texas voter photo ID case.  True the Vote sought to intervene to defend the discriminatory law.  The trial court had denied intervention last year and True the Vote appealed the denial to the Fifth Circuit. The Campaign Legal Center serves as counsel to the lead plaintiffs challenging the law in the district court and had filed an opposition in the Fifth Circuit to stay the voter ID lawsuit.

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July 31, 2014 - Watchdogs Call On FCC to Extend Online Political File Requirements to Cable and Satellite Systems
 
The Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation called on the Federal Communications Commission today to extend to cable and satellite systems the requirement that their political files be posted on the FCC’s online database.  The petitioners are represented by the Institute for Public Representation of Georgetown University Law Center.  

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July 31, 2014 - Groups Seek Summary Judgment Against FEC for Dismissal of Crossroads GPS Complaint
FEC General Counsel’s Findings & Recommendations to Investigate Ignored 
 
Late yesterday, reform groups asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to declare unlawful the dismissal of a complaint against the secretive political spending group Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (GPS) by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The motion for summary judgment stems from the FEC’s failure to investigate Crossroads GPS for not registering as a political committee. The FEC Office of General Counsel had strongly recommended that the agency investigate in the face of evidence against the group but the Commission deadlocked along party lines leading to the dismissal of the complaint.

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July 23, 2014 - Senate Urged to Pass DISCLOSE Act to Combat Growing Crisis of Dark Money In Our Elections

Today the Campaign Legal Center strongly warned against the growing threat of Dark Money to our democracy and provided testimony to the Senate Rules Committee that the DISCLOSE ACT would provide the disclosure called for by the U.S. Supreme Court in a number of recent campaign finance rulings.  In a statement submitted into the record of today’s hearing “The DISCLOSE Act (S.2516) and the Need for Expanded Disclosure of Funds Raised and Spent to Influence Federal Elections” Legal Center President Trevor Potter and Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert condemned the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) “blatant override of Congressional intent” in the rules issued by the Commission to implement the disclosure requirements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

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July 17, 2014 - Watchdogs File FCC Complaints Against TV Stations that Failed to Properly ID Political Ad Sponsors

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation filed complaints at the Federal Communications Commission against two television stations that incorrectly identified front groups as the “true sponsors” of political advertisements, when they were in fact paid for by one individual. The complainants are represented by the Institute for Public Representation of Georgetown University Law Center.

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July 10, 2014 - Florida’s 2012 Congressional Redistricting Ruled Unconstitutional by Florida Circuit Court

Earlier today, Judge Terry P. Lewis of the Second Judicial Circuit Court of Florida found that the Florida Legislature violated the state constitution when it redrew its congressional boundaries. Voters in Florida overwhelmingly supported amending the Florida Constitution in 2012 to bar the Legislature from intentionally favoring or disfavoring a political party or an incumbent.  Today, Judge Lewis found a “group of Republican political consultants or operatives did in fact conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process” and that they did so “all with the intention of obtaining enacted maps for the State House and Senate and Congress that would favor the Republican Party.”  He further found that “[t]hey made a mockery of the Legislature’s proclaimed transparent and open process of redistricting”.   Judge Lewis found that the Republican political consultants “obtain[ed] the necessary cooperation and collaboration” from the Legislative leaders, enabling them to “infiltrate and influence the Legislature[.]” As a result, Judge Lewis found, they managed “to taint the redistricting process and the resulting map with improper partisan intent.”  

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July 2, 2014 - Second Circuit Turns Back Challenge to Vermont’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws & Contribution Limits

Today, in Vermont Right to Life Committee (VRLC) v. Sorrell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the State of Vermont’s campaign finance disclosure law and the application of state contribution limits to a purported “independent” political committee.

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July 1, 2014 - Ninth Circuit Urged to Overturn Ruling that Ignored Precedent to Strike Down Montana Political Campaign Contribution Limits
 
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Common Cause, Justice at Stake and the League of Women Voters, filed an amici brief in Lair v. Motl urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn a District Court ruling striking down Montana’s political campaign contribution limits.  The brief emphasizes that the District Court disregarded both Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court precedent to overturn Montana’s limits on contributions to state candidates, including judges, from individuals and political parties.

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July 1, 2014 - House Ethics Committee Eliminates Required Disclosure of Privately Financed Travel by Members on Financial Forms

The House Ethics Committee has eliminated the requirement for House Members to disclose their privately financed travel on their financial disclosure forms, according to National Journal. The Committee made this change without any public announcement whatsoever, and when it was discovered yesterday the Committee Chair, Ranking Member and Committee staff refused to comment on the controversial move.

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June 25, 2014 - Voting Rights Amendment Act Hearing Begins Process of Repairing Damage Done by Supreme Court
 
Discriminatory voting changes recently implemented in two Texas communities were highlighted in a statement submitted by Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert into the Senate Judiciary Committee record for today’s hearing on The Voting Rights Amendment Act (S.1945).  The discriminatory changes, which had previously been blocked as a result of the special provisions of the Voting Rights Act, were implemented in two Texas jurisdictions after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the preclearance coverage formula in Shelby County v. Holder.  The Court’s decision in Shelby County left communities with a history of discrimination free to implement voting change without clearing them in advance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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June 24, 2013 - Reform Groups Urge Senate to Enact DISCLOSE Act to Close Gaping Disclosure Loopholes Used to Hide Donors
 
Reform groups issued a statement today expressing strong support for the DISCLOSE Act of 2014 introduced today by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) with 49 cosponsors. The DISCLOSE Act would ensure that that voters know the identity of donors who have been secretly financing campaign expenditures in federal elections.

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June 20, 2014 - Democratic Governors Association Drops Challenge to Connecticut’s Post-Citizens United Campaign Finance Reforms
Legal Center & Connecticut Watchdogs Briefs Backed Reforms

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has withdrawn its challenge to Connecticut’s campaign finance laws enacted in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.  The Campaign Legal Center, joined by three Connecticut watchdog groups, had filed amici briefs in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut urging the court to reject the DGA’s attempt to have much of the organization’s election related activity to be declared outside of  Connecticut’s campaign finance laws. The DGA dropped its challenge after the court rejected its attempt to obtain a preliminary injunction against enforcement of key provisions of the law, finding DGA was unlikely to prevail on its claims.

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June 17, 2014 - Groups Concerned About Judicial Integrity Urge Ninth Circuit to Rehear Case Striking Down Judicial Campaign Laws

Yesterday, the Campaign Legal Center joined with other nonprofit groups concerned with the integrity of the courts in filing an amici curiae brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to review en banc Wolfson v. Concannon, in which a three-judge circuit panel struck down Arizona rules for judicial conduct as applied to non-judge candidates, but left those rules standing for incumbent judicial candidates.

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June 16, 2014 - Watchdogs Call on Senate Ethics Committee to Open Ethics Process and Create Outside Investigative Office

Today, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen urged the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to make its process of ethics investigations more transparent and more accountable.  In a letter to Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the groups urged the creation of an independent ethics investigative office similar to the Office of Congressional Ethics Office (OCE) in the House.  In the short term, the watchdogs urged the Committee to undertake a variety of other reforms to improve the ethics process, increase transparency and help to restore public trust in the process.

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