Blog

  • Farewell to The Colbert Report

    Dec 19, 2014

    The Campaign Legal Center would like to mark The Colbert Report’s “passing into Eternity” by recognizing the great success of Stephen Colbert in raising public awareness about the increasingly influential role of undisclosed money in politics...

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  • Video of the Voting Rights Institute in Miami Training the Next Generation of Voting Rights Lawyers and Activists

    Dec 11, 2014

    On October 8, the latest Voting Rights Institute training was held in Miami to train the next generation of Voting Rights attorneys and activists.  Video of the session, sponsored by the Campaign Legal Center and the American Constitution Society, is now available.

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  • Democrats and Republicans Attempt Twitter End-Run Around Campaign Finance Laws

    Nov 25, 2014

    Last week, CNN and Huffington Post broke stories about the Republican and Democratic Parties using Twitter feeds to secretly communicate ad buy and polling information to outside groups prohibited from coordinating their spending with parties...

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  • Lawsuits from Maine to Hawaii Seek to Block Public’s Right to Know

    Oct 5, 2014

    While ever more is spent by independent groups in American elections, less and less is known about those holding the purse-strings.  And in a new litigation offensive, opponents of campaign finance reform are making an all-out attempt to eviscerate what little political transparency still exists.

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  • Complicated Times: Speech and Advocacy in a Changing Environment

    Aug 26, 2014

    I would like to speak as the emissary of an outlier among philosophically conservative private foundations.  Our organization, the Stuart Family Foundation, has consistently supported campaign finance reform along the lines of McCain-Feingold / BCRA.  This reflects the judgment and experiences of our founder, Ambassador Robert D. Stuart, Jr., who after many decades of fund-raising on behalf of the GOP, came to realize in the 1990s that the soft-money loophole had corrupted the action of the Congress and was undermining public faith in the integrity of elections.  This conviction has placed us sharply at odds with other conservative philanthropies, so I would like to talk a bit about why conservatives seem generally opposed to campaign finance reform and what might be done to bring them around, for without their support, for the foreseeable future, nothing will change for the better.

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  • McCain-Feingold's Devastating Legacy? Let's Take Another Look

    Jul 22, 2014

    Last year was the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in McConnell v. FEC (in large part upholding the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 or McCain-Feingold as it’s commonly known). The Court’s recent decision inMcCutcheon v. FEC (invalidating federal aggregate contribution limits), has brought a wave of commentary evaluating the shortcomings of our campaign finance system, and much of this commentary has blamed the McCain-Feingold law for creating many of these problems. The 10 year anniversary of McConnell, and this year’s McCutcheon decision, certainly provide a good moment to take stock of the legacy of McCain-Feingold, and to evaluate the state of the federal campaign finance system as a whole...

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  • Coordination and Issue Politics- It's Still About the Money

    Jul 18, 2014

    The opposition to campaign finance reform is not monolithic. Some comes from conservatives who believe it’s really a cover to push some sort of substantive Democratic/liberal agenda. Others are fine with reducing First Amendment speech and representative democracy into mere commodities to be bought and sold, and approve of the idea that money can and should buy political power...

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  • Second Circuit Tackles "Independence"

    Jul 7, 2014

    Last week in Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell, a federal appeals court, in a welcome move, finally asked the crucial question of whether a self-styled “independent” group was in fact independent.  The Supreme Court’s naïve or disingenuous decision in Citizens United struck down the federal corporate spending restrictions while at the same time assuring us that independent spending, by virtue of its independence, could not corrupt candidates.  Even accepting that proposition—however unrealistic—candidates and committees have worked tirelessly to push the envelope in terms of just how much “coordination” they could get away with under current law.  A line was finally drawn last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit...

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  • A New Call to Action One Year After Shelby v. Holder

    Jun 25, 2014
    One year ago today—June 25, 2013—the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in the landmark decision Shelby County v. Holder.
     
    A narrow 5-4 majority rendered the Act's coverage formula unconstitutional. The formula had required certain states and jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting practices to receive preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before implementing new election practices or procedures. Nine states, primarily in the Deep South, and a handful of jurisdictions from Manhattan, New York to Monterey, California were covered under the formula. Since the decision inShelby, several previously covered jurisdictions have swiftly enacted or administered discriminatory voting changes that would not have been possible before the ruling.

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  • The Distorted Vision of Partisan Eyes

    Jun 11, 2014

    To many across the nation, politics is a team sport. To these die-hard fans, every call against their team is because of a biased ref or ump and every opponent is an evil low life steroid-taking fraud who skipped the first two races of the Triple Crown. This team sport mentality helps explain the passion, knee-jerk reactions and lack of rational thought that frames many of our political debates. Having spent close to 38 years in Washington working for non-partisan institutions and organizations, and having represented conservative, progressive, Republican and Democratic clients, I also know that there are many who believe that ensuring the integrity of the game is the best form of team loyalty and strive to ensure the game is played fairly and by the rules. Despite what some of those who disagree with our positions occasionally claim, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) is one such organization.

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