- May 22, 2012
On May 19, 2012, Meredith McGehee, Policy Director for the Campaign Legal Center, appeared on C-Span’s Washington Journal to discuss campaign finance issues. In a discussion with host Pedro Echevarria, and in response to viewer questions, McGehee focused on current state of play in the funding the 2012 election cycle in the wake of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and on congressional efforts to mitigate the damage from that court ruling.
To watch the show, click here.
- May 18, 2012
Yesterday, Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee appeared on the Diane Rehm show to discuss the campaign finance issues and the trial of former Senator John Edwards which went to a jury this week in Greensboro North Carolina.
McGehee’s fellow guests included Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, Jan Baran of Wiley Rein and Steven Friedland, Elon University Law professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
To listen to the show, click here.
- May 14, 2012
Recently, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) proposed eliminating limits on contributions to political candidates as the solution to the current campaign finance mess. He says unlimited contributions to candidates won't further empower the wealthy; they will just create more political speech. And he said this with a straight face!
Sen. Alexander said that if Congress eliminated the limits on contributions to candidates, there would be no need to worry about large contributions to outside groups taking over our elections and as they would become minor players in our elections.
- Apr 10, 2012
The Supreme Court, in its landmark 2010 Citizens United decision, unleashed unlimited special interest corporate spending in our elections but assured us that any threat of corruption stemming from this spending would be eliminated by robust campaign finance disclosure.
The Court wrote: “The First Amendment protects political speech [i.e., spending]; and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way. This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.” Eight of the Court’s nine Justices signed the portion of the decision upholding the challenged disclosure law. But the promised disclosure never materialized.
- Mar 28, 2012
The petition for a writ of certiorari has been filed in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. (ATP) v. Bullock. With the filing, the U.S. Supreme Court is now presented with an opportunity to re-examine its ill-considered Citizens United ruling.
The practical realities of Citizens United have proven a far cry from the comparative utopia imagined in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Influence buying in Washington has been even easier in the wake of the controversial decision and there is little resemblance to the majority opinion’s alternate universe where contributions are disclosed, coordination doesn’t happen and independent expenditures can’t possibly lead to even the appearance of corruption.
- Mar 22, 2012
Television broadcasters are going to the mat for paper cuts and metal file cabinets. At a time of huge profits from political ad sales, many broadcasters are fighting tooth and nail to continue to make it difficult for people to access their public political files.
Under laws that have been on the books for decades, television broadcasters are required to keep information about all requests for political advertising time in a file open to public inspection. The political file is supposed to include a note showing what happened to the requests — when spots aired, rates charged and classes of time purchased. All records are to be filed as soon as possible and kept for two years.
- Feb 24, 2012
Campaign Legal Center President Trevor Potter was the guest on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday and heard on more than 450 public radio stations across the country. Host Terry Gross and Potter discussed the impact of the controversial Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, subsequent lower court rulings and the abject failure of the Federal Election Commission to enforce U.S. campaign finance laws.
- Feb 10, 2012
The new DISCLOSE Act of 2012 introduced yesterday by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is a serious measure that merits bipartisan support. By stripping out provisions that in the last Congress gave cover to those who oppose transparency, Rep. Van Hollen has presented the 112th Congress with a strong measure that both Democrats and Republicans should support, regardless of the partisan messaging that accompanied its introduction.
- Jan 31, 2012
Now is the time for a fight over the do-nothing Federal Election Commission (FEC). While President Obama missed a golden opportunity in his State of the Union address to announce that he was sending five names to the Senate for confirmation to the FEC, he should do so now.
All of the other reform measures he cited in his speech depend on Congress moving first. The one action in this area he can unilaterally take is to nominate new commissioners — individuals from both parties who will place upholding the law above partisan or ideological loyalties.
So why should he pick this fight now?
- Jan 18, 2012
Super PACs continue to play an outsized role this election year and are not going away. The ad buys are staggering and will only grow in the run-up to November. The nominally ‘independent’ committees are the big story of the 2012 election cycle.
The committees continue to draw increased media attention. The old math, focused on candidate and party committee war chests, has gone out the window as election handicappers and journalists come to grips with the growing crop of Super PACs spending millions of dollars on behalf of candidates.