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.
U.S. Senate: Diverse Coalition Calls on U.S. Senators to Quit Wasting Tax Dollars and File Campaign Reports ElectronicallyJun 9, 2011
Today, a diverse coalition of groups sent a letter to all U.S. Senators urging them to co-sponsor legislation which would require Senate candidates to file their campaign finance reports electronically. Currently, Senators and candidates for Senate file their reports – almost of which are originally created electronically – with the Secretary of the Senate who is required to print them out and then send them to the Federal Election Commission where the information is again re-entered as data. This is a cynical waste of a hundreds of thousands of tax dollars and man-hours by politicians that regularly posture about deficit reduction. The letter also urges Senators to file their reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission voluntarily.
- Jun 9, 2011
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion today in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, affirming the district court’s decision not to preliminary enjoin several challenged campaign finance restrictions of the City of San Diego. The Campaign Legal Center, together with Common Cause, filed an amici curiae brief with the Ninth Circuit supporting the City of San Diego.
Supreme Court Precedent on Corporate Contribution Ban Disregarded Again by District Court Judge in ReconsiderationJun 7, 2011
Compounding his earlier mistake, Judge Cacheris of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia today reaffirmed his May 26 decision to strike down the century-old federal restriction on corporate contributions to candidates and political parties. The Judge clarified, however, that his order was limited only to the case before the court, U.S. v. Danielczyk, a criminal matter concerning allegations that the defendants illegally directed corporate contributions to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign.
Federal Officeholder and Candidate Fundraising for Super PACs Clearly Illegal: Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 Submit Comments to FECJun 6, 2011
Today, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 submitted comments to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) clearly outlining that it is illegal for federal officeholders and candidates to solicit unlimited contributions for Super PACs. The comments address Advisory Opinion Request (AOR) 2011-12 submitted on behalf of Majority PAC and House Majority PAC asking the Commission’s opinion as to whether federal officeholders and candidates could raise unlimited contributions for Super PACs making independent expenditures to influence federal elections.
Edwards Indictment Paints Troubling Picture: Statement of Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center Policy DirectorJun 3, 2011
The allegations unveiled in the indictment against former Senator John Edwards regarding the conduct of his Presidential campaign are deeply disturbing. The alleged payments of “hush money” raise the specter of political influence-peddling in the form of “gifts” to candidates in high-stakes campaigns.