(photo courtesy of Colbert Report)
Campaign Legal Center President (and attorney at the law firm Caplin & Drysdale) Trevor Potter played an important role in the last election cycle: that of "personal lawyer" to comedian Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Mr. Colbert took on the absurdities of some of current campaign finance law and turned them into a running parody on his show this election cycle, with the help of Trevor. To watch video highlights of Trevor Potter's appearances on The Colbert Report, click here.
- Apr 12, 2018
Campaign Legal Center filed a federal complaint Tuesday against ICE under the Freedom of Information Act. The complaint cites an August 2016 report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, which concluded that “contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP [Bureau of Prisons] institutions.”
- Apr 11, 2018
CLC is trying to compel ICE to release documents that disclose their operating agreements with a private prison in Washington State to learn more about GEO Group's role as a federal contractor.
ProPublica: Trump’s Company Is Suing Towns Across the Country to Get Breaks on Taxes — “Trump, Inc.” PodcastApr 11, 2018
No president in modern times has owned a business involved in legal battles with local governments. “The idea that the president would have these interests and then those companies would sue localities is really a dangerous precedent,” says Larry Noble, of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. The dynamic between local and federal governments is impossible to ignore in these cases, says Noble. Municipalities “rely on resources from the federal government and the federal government can make your life easier or much more difficult.” The concern arises because the president did not fully separate from his businesses, he says.
- Apr 11, 2018
Former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub concurs. “Federal managers are prohibited from considering party affiliation when making personnel decisions for career employees,” he tells me. “This safeguard dates back 135 years and is based on the ethical principle that most of the work of government should be carried out by officials who are loyal to the Constitution, the laws and the American people instead of partisan political patrons.” He continues, “Targeting career officials based on party affiliation would jeopardize the integrity of the government’s operations and, in a case like this, open us up to corrupt political influence on the law enforcement apparatus of the state.” He observes, “The depressing irony is that, in pressing their groundless claims of political bias in the investigation, these members of Congress are literally advocating for political bias by demanding the Justice Department ensure that the president is investigated only by ardent supporters — a view they definitely have not held for his political rival.”
Business Insider: Experts say a letter from the Trump Organization's lawyers to Panama's president is Trump's 'not so subtle attempt' to use the presidency for 'personal gain'Apr 11, 2018
"So, his company asking the president of Panama ... to intervene in a business dispute that is in the Panamanian courts, citing a foreign treaty and implying that Panama would be seen as at fault if his business suffered damages, appears to be a not so subtle attempt to use the weight of Trump's presidency for personal gain," Larry Noble, the senior director and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, told Business Insider.
Noble added that this move is "a step beyond" past instances of conflicts involving Trump and his business.
- Apr 10, 2018
Pruitt leased a room last year from the wife of a lobbyist whose firm represents clients with business before the EPA. Pruitt paid $50 a night, but only for days he used the condo, and was permitted to let members of his family use the condo too. The agency’s ethics chief says the rent was fair, while leaving open the possibility that Pruitt violated rules requiring him to remain impartial.
"I do think there is an illegal gift issue here," said Larry Noble, former president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and now general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington advocacy group.
Noble said that if an EPA employee were involved in a matter affecting the same person who was subsidizing that employee’s rent, that employee "should be subject to discipline." What type of discipline, Noble added, "would depend on the facts."
Business Insider: Trump Organization lawyers say they didn't seek to 'pressure' Panama president in hotel controversyApr 10, 2018
Any US decision affecting Panama will be under the microscope, said Larry Noble, the senior director and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center. "It could be a trade deal, it could be aid of some sort, it could be a rule involving the Panama Canal," Noble said. He added: "This is a good example of what a presidential conflict of interest looks like."
- Apr 10, 2018
The Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based voting group, claimed in a lawsuit it filed in 2016 that Alabama’s felon disenfranchisement law, which blocks roughly 15 percent of Alabama’s black population from voting, is racially discriminatory and unconstitutional. In a motion to dismiss last month, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) argued that the law is neither punitive nor criminal.
- Apr 10, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress this week about his global social media platform and security of the user data it collects, after bipartisan calls in the House and Senate for him to do so. This is a meaningful first step in the direction of transparency, but it does not address the issue of foreign interference in our elections.
- Apr 9, 2018
On April 10 and 11, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heads to Capitol Hill for two days of highly anticipated testimony on Facebook’s actions in the lead-up to the 2016 Election and the company’s relationship with data firm Cambridge Analytica.
We’ve got a few questions for Mr. Zuckerberg, ourselves. Facebook says that “political” and “issue” ads run on its platform are going to be subject to heightened transparency requirements, such as including disclaimers telling viewers who paid for the ad, and requiring political advertisers to confirm their identity and location before running ads. But what does this mean?