- Jan 16, 2013
For many years, policies requiring public disclosure of the money spent to influence the outcome of U.S. elections had bipartisan support. The post-Watergate laws, which included a new and comprehensive disclosure regime, passed with support from both Republicans and Democrats. The 2000 law to require so-called "527" political groups to disclose their donors was authored by a Republican and passed with the support of 80% of House Republicans.
IRS: Agency Urged to Investigate American Tradition Partnership and Its Suspect Application for 501(c)(4) StatusJan 16, 2013
The Campaign Legal Center today joined Democracy 21 in urging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether American Tradition Partnership (formerly Western Tradition Partnership) submitted false information to the agency in order to obtain its 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. Copies of the organization’s application materials published by ProPublica and Frontline indicate that the group made numerous false claims while seeking expedited review of its application for exempt status.
- Jan 9, 2013
The Board of Directors of the Campaign Legal Center this week approved the selection of Megan McAllen as the Legal Center’s first recipient of the Rapoport Legal Fellowship. This fellowship was made possible by a generous grant from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. The one-year position is designed for recent law school graduates embarking on careers in campaign finance and election law.
- Jan 8, 2013
It is difficult to overstate the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, overturned or ignored the Court’s own precedents and federal, state, and local statutes that had been in place for more than 60 years. The immediate impact of Citizens United and subsequent cases was a dramatic increase in the amount that outside groups (both super PACs and certain nonprofit organizations) could raise and spend in federal elections. Given Citizen United’s exceedingly narrow definition of “corruption,” and its broad statements dismissing the concerns of those who believe that unlimited spending by well-financed interests is potentially corrupting, reformers are correct to worry about what other federal and state campaign finance laws may be invalidated in the future.
Supreme Court Again Comes Down On Side of Donor Disclosure, Denies Cert in Real Truth About AbortionJan 7, 2013
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari in The Real Truth About Abortion v. FEC and left standing a lower court ruling upholding FEC rules governing donor disclosure. The suit specifically challenged the “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.” Both are key measures to ensure effective determinations of federal “political committee” status, and by extension, to implement the comprehensive disclosure requirements applicable to such political committees.
- Jan 4, 2013
By April, all six commissioners will be lame ducks serving expired terms. It’s long past time for a whole new crop of commissioners – ones willing to enforce the laws passed by Congress. On January 3, Legal Center Executive Director Meredith McGehee was invited to submit a guest commentary on the topic on Politix -- the political arm of Topix the largest discussion forum in the U.S. with more than 10 million users. McGehee produced a short video to kick off the discussion.
To watch the video at Politix, click here.
FEC & DOJ: “Straw Company” Complaints to FEC & DOJ Supplemented With Additional Information Regarding Funder & FreedomWorks’ RoleJan 3, 2013
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, supplemented complaints to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding possible violations of campaign finance law by two companies seemingly created for the purpose of funneling $12 million to the Super PAC FreedomWorks for America while hiding the identity of the donor. New information uncovered by The Washington Post indicates that Illinois millionaire Richard J. Stephenson was the source of the $12 million and that FreedomWorks itself, led by executive vice president Adam Brandon, orchestrated the scheme for Stephenson to evade federal campaign finance disclosure laws.
Crossroads GPS Application to IRS Bears No Resemblance to Shadow Party Committee that Spent $70 Million Anonymously on AdsJan 2, 2013
The Campaign Legal Center today joined Democracy 21 citing new evidence in urging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deny Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS tax-exempt status as a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. The letterpoints to the recent public dissemination by the news organization ProPublica of Crossroads GPS’s application to the IRS seeking privileged 501(c)(4) tax exempt status as a “social welfare” organization able to keep its donors secret.
- Dec 21, 2012
The State of New Hampshire and the United States Attorney General reached an agreement today that would grant a bailout for the ten towns and townships in the State that are subject to the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act. The agreement was submitted to a three-judge court in Washington, DC, and asks the court to wait thirty days to enter it, so that the towns can publicize the proposed settlement. Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert serves as legal counsel to the State of New Hampshire in his capacity as a solo practitioner. New Hampshire becomes the first state to bailout since Congress changed the bailout requirements under the Voting Rights Act in 1982.