(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.
- Mar 17, 2011
On March 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in McComish v. Bennett, a high-stakes campaign finance case in which the Court will assess the constitutionality of a public financing law for the first time in 35 years. The case deals with the “triggered matching funds provisions” of Arizona’s highly successful Clean Elections system, but it could affect similar public financing systems in numerous states and cities. Just a year after the controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the Court is once again poised to issue a ruling that could make it harder for ordinary citizens to compete with big money in our democracy.
- Mar 16, 2011
We all remember the children’s book series Where’s Waldo, right? If not, the premise is simple: the series challenges its readers to locate a bespectacled character wearing a signature candy cane-striped sweater. The only trick is that Waldo is quite the chameleon. Skilled in the art of camouflage (or perhaps in choosing his environment), Waldo antagonizes the hunter by gallivanting around in a world of similarly clad people and backdrops. And when the reader has filtered through all of the red herrings to finally locate him, she can expect another—often more difficult—search for Waldo on the next page. It instantly became a children’s bestseller, probably for its ability to keep primary schoolers preoccupied while their parents tended to other matters. Well it seems as though freshman Congressman David Schweiker’s campaign committee was particularly fond of the series as well. And perhaps three of the FEC’s six commissioners were especially good at it.
White House: Reform Groups Urge President Obama to Fill 5 Expired FEC Slots with Commissioners Who Will Enforce the LawMar 15, 2011
Today, the Campaign Legal Center joined with a coalition of reform groups to urge President Obama to move quickly to fill the expired commission slots at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and end a “national campaign finance scandal” where the enforcement agency has refused to enforce campaign finance laws. The organizations asked the President to break from the longstanding but problematic practice of the White House simply nominating those individuals recommended by Senate leaders from each party.
How Presumed Presidential Candidates Skirt Contribution Limits & the FEC Turns a Blind Eye: Legal Center Releases White PaperMar 4, 2011
Today the Campaign Legal Center released a white paper taking an in-depth look at the legal issues surrounding likely 2012 presidential candidates, who so far are calling themselves anything but that. The white paper looks at what the laws are, which ones are actually enforced, when the $2,500 limit contribution limits kick in and how state committees and federal leadership PACs are used to skirt that limit. Finally the paper makes recommendations about what can be done to close this long-existing loophole in federal campaign finance law
- Mar 4, 2011
For months, reporters have been writing about prospective presidential candidates raising and spending millions of dollars through a myriad of political organizationsother than presidential campaign committees (e.g., 527 organizations, state PACs, federal leadership PACs), focusing their activities in early presidential caucus/primary states, and accepting contributions in amounts that far exceed the federal candidate $2,500 contribution limit and from sources, namely corporations, that are prohibited from making contributions to federal political committees. Remarkably, until March 3, 2011, not a single major player had admitted they were even “testing the waters” for a presidential run.
U.S. Senate: CLC & Reform Groups Urge Senate Democratic Leaders to Defeat Effort to Use FY 11 Spending Bill to Kill Presidential Public Financing SystemFeb 24, 2011
On Thursday, February 24, the Campaign Legal Center, along with ten other reform groups, sent a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chair Charles Schumer (D-NY) to “exercise your Senate leadership positions to take all steps necessary to defeat any effort by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell or any other Senator to kill the presidential public financing system by attaching an amendment to the FY 11 Spending Bill.”
Supreme Court Declines to Review Important Ninth Circuit Decision Upholding Washington State Ballot Measure Disclosure LawsFeb 23, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied certiorari in Human Life of Washington v. Brumsickle, the latest in a string of challenges to disclosure laws across the country to appeal to the High Court. The denial leaves standing the well-reasoned and important decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding Washington state disclosure laws that require ballot measure advocacy groups like Human Life of Washington to register and report their financial activities as “political committees.”
Legal Center Coordinates Broad Range of Amici in Supreme Court Defense of Arizona Public Financing SystemFeb 23, 2011
A broad range of individuals and organizations – from organized labor and the Committee for Economic Development to former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont - has filed amici briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Arizona’s public financing program for state electoral campaigns. The Campaign Legal Center served as coordinator of amici in the case McComish v. Bennett in addition to filing its own brief with Democracy 21 and six other public interest groups.