- Mar 18, 2014
On March 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama will sign into law a bill (H.R. 2019) that kills public financing of the presidential nominating conventions. The bill, renamed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, passed the Senate by voice vote on March 11.
This bill was the end of an on-going -- and now successful -- effort by House Republicans to partially dismantle the presidential public financing system. Previous efforts, led by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), failed in the Senate as the Democratic leadership stepped up repeatedly to rebuff Republican attempts to attack the presidential public financing system.
As we await a decision from the Supreme Court in the McCutcheon v. FEC money in politics case, the Justices themselves heard from a protester who rose in the courtroom to proclaim that “money is not speech, corporations are not people” and to urge the Court to “overturn Citizens United.”
That this breach was so surprising reminds us how cut-off the Supreme Court is from the life of the country. That separation also comes through in what the Justices had to say in the McCutcheon oral argument. Their comments illustrate flashpoints that underlie the Court’s money in politics cases and shed light on the fundamental fissures we may see in their decision.
1. Does the Court understand the Real World?
- Mar 6, 2014
In a March 5 entry in his “More Soft Money, Hard Law” blog, Bob Bauer distorted and then criticized the Campaign Legal Center’s (CLC) position in the ongoing IRS rulemaking regarding “candidate-related political activity” by tax-exempt organizations. CLC filed its IRS comments jointly with Democracy 21, Public Citizen, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). While CLC respects the right of anyone to criticize our legal and policy positions, such criticism should be based on our actual views, not on straw man distortions of our positions.
- Mar 5, 2014
Any day now, the Supreme Court will decide whether to throw out the overall limits on how much any one person can contribute to federal candidates, PACs, and political parties. This decision could have a big impact on business executives and they might not be too happy about it.
To watch the video at The Huffington Post, click here.
- Feb 11, 2014
At its meeting this morning, the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board approved the “coordination” advisory opinion that the Campaign Legal Center supported in comments filed yesterday. This could well be the first jurisdiction in the country that has taken the legally sound common-sense position that a candidate’s fundraising for an outside group constitutes coordination with the group. The question posed in this Advisory Opinion was whether a candidate could raise unlimited individual and corporate funds for a Super PAC that would then spend the funds to support that candidate.
To read the full approved opinion, click here.
- Dec 2, 2013
Leadership PACs, they’re legal but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a scandal. A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes cast a harsh light on these political slush funds and recently Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee took another look via a video guest commentary on Politix.
To watch the video at Politix, click here.
- Nov 13, 2013“We are in a really dangerous place in terms of money and politics and its effect on Congress, on our system,” Trevor Potter warns in a new video. But he emphasizes that there are things that can be done to improve the situation in a new video produced by Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee.
To watch the video, click here.
- Oct 7, 2013
Much is at stake tomorrow when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the challenge to federal contribution limits. If you are tired of reading about the McCutcheon v FEC, you can watch a summary of key issues and potential outcomes. CLC Policy Director Meredith McGehee has produced a video of Senior Counsel Tara Malloy talking about the case.
To watch the video, click here.
- Oct 3, 2013
Several readers have asked for additional explanation of the practical effects of applying “strict scrutiny” to judicial review of contribution limitations, first discussed in yesterday’s blog “The Grenade in the McCutcheon briefs.”
- Oct 2, 2013
Those who have been following the Supreme Court case, McCutcheon v. FEC, know that it is a challenge to the $123,200 federal limit on how much an individual can give, in aggregate, to candidates, political parties and PACs in a single election cycle. What they may not realize, however, is that the plaintiffs and some of the amici curiae who filed in their support—in particular Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has requested and received time to participate in the oral argument next week—have also made an even more extreme request of the Supreme Court: namely, that the Court overturn the key legal principle that the “standard of review” (what the government has to show to justify regulation) is different for limits on campaign contributions than limits on campaign expenditures.