Rep. Watt’s Attempt to Gut Office of Congressional Ethics Fails: Statement of Meredith McGehee, Policy DirectorJul 22, 2011
It is a sad commentary that almost one third of the House followed the lead of Rep. Mel Watt (D-MC) and voted to eviscerate the budget of the only functioning element of the House ethics process. The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) should be strengthened, not weakened and no further proof of that is needed than the Ethics Committee’s completely inept handling of the investigation of Representative Maxine Waters.
- Jul 21, 2011
Today reform groups urged every Member of the House of Representatives to vote down an amendment to the Congressional budget bill that would slash the budget for the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) by 40 percent ($619,000). In a letter the groups praised the work of the OCE and condemned the attempt by Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to defund it.
- Jul 20, 2011
Today reform groups urged the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee to engage an outside counsel to complete the long-delayed investigation of Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA). The groups also praised the work of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and urged an expansion and strengthening of the office.
U.S. House: Reform Groups Urge Ethics Committee to Move Forward and Provide Accounting of Rep. Waters’ InvestigationJul 8, 2011
Today, a coalition of reform groups urged the House ethics committee to resume work on the long-pending investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and to provide a public accounting of the status of the case.
- Jul 5, 2011
Last Friday, Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) filed a summary judgment brief in his ongoing legal challenge to a FEC regulation that has improperly narrowed the scope of the McCain-Feingold law’s disclosure requirements and allowed nonprofit 501(c)(4) advocacy groups, 501(c)(6) business associations and others to spend millions on “electioneering communications” while keeping secret the donors who funded these ads.
FEC Surprises by Denying Request for Unlimited Candidate Solicitations for “Super PACs” in Unanimous VoteJun 30, 2011
The Federal Election Commission today voted unanimously to deny an advisory opinion request by Majority PAC and House Majority PAC seeking permission for federal officeholders and candidates to solicit unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions for federal “Super PACs.” While officeholders and candidates will be allowed to make solicitations for funds complying with the existing federal contribution limits and prohibitions, as some are already doing, the Commission, in keeping with comments filed by the Legal Center, declined to open yet another loophole in the law by allowing what would amount to illegal “soft money” solicitations.
- Jun 30, 2011
At an open meeting packed with cameras, campaign finance advocates and fans of The Colbert Report, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) denied a request by comedian Stephen Colbert to extend the so-called "press exemption" to allow Viacom corporation to secretly subsidize his proposed Colbert Super PAC. By a vote of 5-1, the Commissioners adopted an advisory opinion that finds that Viacom corporation, the media entity which owns and produces Mr. Colbert's television show, is entitled to the press exemption only insofar as Viacom produces or otherwise supports reporting and commentary on Colbert Super PAC during the Colbert Show. The opinion follows the course of action recommended by the Legal Center's comments filed with the FEC in the proceeding.
- Jun 28, 2011
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Green Party of Conn. v. Lenge, leaving undisturbed the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the qualifying criteria of the Connecticut state public financing program.
- Jun 27, 2011
Scarcely one year after its radical ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court today struck down key provisions of Arizona’s state public financing program in another decision that will undermine the integrity of our elections. The 5-4 opinion throws into jeopardy the public financing programs of several states and municipalities that contain trigger provisions much like those struck down today as part of Arizona’s program. The successful and popular program was passed by Arizona voters in 1998 after a wave of corruption scandals in the state.
- Jun 16, 2011
Today, the U.S. district court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld FEC rules that serve to establish federal political committee status and the scope of federal disclosure requirements in Real Truth About Obama (RTAO) v. FEC. The plaintiff RTAO challenged the much-contested “subpart (b)” definition of “expressly advocating” (11 C.F.R. § 100.22(b)), as well as the FEC’s methodology for determining when a group has campaign activity as its “major purpose,” an important step in the larger determination of political committee status.