• Citizens United & Foreign Money In U.S. Elections

    Oct 15, 2012

    On October 13, Politico’s Arena featured a short video produced by Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee on the ease with which foreign interests could be pouring money into our elections.  The video shows why Justice Alito's "not true" rejoinder about foreign money in U.S. elections during the State of the Union falls short as does the supposed "full disclosure" imagined by Justice Kennedy in his Citizens United opinion.

     To watch the video at Politico’s Arena, click here.

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  • Your Mobile Ticket Into the Campaign Contribution Vault

    Sep 25, 2012

    Smart phones aren’t just for fact checking those suspicious sounding baseball stats your friend keeps quoting.  Now, thanks to a new mobile app produced by MapLight, your phone can also help you keep your elected officials honest on the sources of their campaign contributions.

    The app, Politicash 2012, tracks money flowing into the presidential race, making it easier than ever to know exactly who is funding the candidates. The app is designed with several unique features, including:

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  • Trevor Potter Featured Guest on Bill Moyers "Elections For Sale"

    Sep 21, 2012

    The Campaign Legal Center’s President Trevor Potter was the featured guest on Bill Moyers & Company for an informative interview entitled, “Elections for Sale.”

    More money is being spent this election cycle than ever before, much from secretive, outside groups.  Some estimates show the cost of this election cycle will reach more than $5 billion, much of it in negative ads designed to depress the other side’s voter turnout.  What is the role of money in a republican democracy?  Is all of this spending corrupting?  And are our elected officials and elections for sale with this sudden influx of money?

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  • Potter v. Bopp on Campaign Finance and Democracy in The Atlantic

    Sep 20, 2012

    In the October issue of The Atlantic, editor James Bennett takes a long look at campaign finance reforms and their impact on our democracy through the competing visions of Legal Center President Trevor Potter and anti-reformer James Bopp.  “The New Price of American Democracy” traces the history of campaign finance reforms, the scandals that led to them, and the courts’ reactions to those reforms. 

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  • Our Democratic Rights Can Never Be Taken For Granted

    Sep 11, 2012

    The somber occasion of the 11th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is a reminder that the freedoms we enjoy in this great country can never be taken for granted.  In the wake of Cold War, we learned that tragic day that even with the Soviet Union gone there were still those who resented our democracy and our basic rights to free speech and to vote in free, democratic elections.

    In the Amendments to our Constitution, no right has been more frequently expanded and safeguarded than the right to vote. It is a right that is at the core of our democracy and our freedom.  It is not a right we should ever take for granted.  It is a right we must always defend whenever there are efforts to deny or abridge it.

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  • Trevor Potter to Join Televised Super PAC Debate Tomorrow

    Sep 11, 2012

    Tomorrow night Legal Center President Trevor Potter and Jonathan Soros of the Roosevelt Institute will take on David Keating of the Center for Competitive Politics and Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine at the Intelligence Squared debate, “Two Cheers for Super PACs: Money in Politics is Still Overregulated.”

    In an Oxford-style debate from 6:45-8:30 p.m. at the Kauffman Center in New York, Potter & Soros will argue against the motion while Keating & Sullivan will argue for it.  The debate will be moderated by ABC News correspondent and author John Donvan.

    In this election cycle when more money is being spent by outside groups than ever before, it is crucial that we have an open and honest discussion about the role of money in politics.  This debate is an exciting opportunity to do just that, and have an interesting, in-depth conversation about money in politics and its impact on our democracy.

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  • Lesser of Two Evils: Dem's Vague Platform Improvement Over GOP Absurdity

    Sep 5, 2012

    Convention season is upon us, and the Democratic National Convention is getting underway in Charlotte this week.  Given that the Republican platform unabashedly celebrates Citizens United and denounces campaign finance reform of any kind, the Democrats now have their turn to show where they stand on changing the current campaign finance system as well as voting rights.


    Last week, the GOP stand was clear and, in a word, radical.  The platform opposes increased disclosure, including disclosure of the identities of those bankrolling the millions of dollars in “dark money” ad buys by social welfare groups and trade associations.  The GOP, not surprisingly after the debate on the DISCLOSE Act this Congress, frames its opposition in terms of constitutional rights, and declares campaign financing to be free “speech that is protected.”

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  • Still Fighting For MLK's Dream 49 Years On

    Aug 29, 2012

    49 years ago on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his infamous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  He addressed an estimated 300,000 participants of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, saying:

    “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.  This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    49 years ago Americans were struggling to find work, were fighting against segregation and discrimination, and they were fighting for their right to vote.  While we have come a long way since before the days President Lyndon Johnson signed the VotingRights Act into law, we still face many of the same challenges today.

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  • A Way Forward: Rebuilding the Presidential Public Financing System

    Jun 22, 2012

    Earlier this week, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado introduced a bill to fix and modernize the Presidential Public Financing System. While clearly its short-term prospects for passage in the Senate are dim, this is a serious and timely effort that deserves support.  Here's why.

    At the heart of Udall's bill is a set of incentives for presidential candidates to focus on soliciting small-donor contributions from a broad base.  With spending limits removed, such a system will attract candidates to participate, and the money will flow to candidates earlier.  The system will also be more solvent, with better funding mechanisms and more stringent viability requirements for applicants. And the reforms in Senator Udall’s bill, by strengthening the incentives to solicit small contributions, will help to ensure that the system will continue to provide an alternative to the current practice of constantly dialing large-money donors.

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  • The Disclosure Two-Step

    Jun 22, 2012

    Campaign finance opponents are back to performing their favorite move: the “Disclosure Two-Step.”  While breathtaking in its audacity, the dance is remarkably simple. First, while challenging a substantive campaign finance restriction, you assure your audience that you strongly support disclosure and argue that political transparency will ameliorate any harm caused by the elimination of the targeted restriction.  Second, once the substantive restriction has been eliminated – say, by an activist conservative Supreme Court – you pivot and assert that disclosure is a threat to free speech and a trigger for the unconscionable harassment of political speakers.

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