(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.
- Sep 20, 2012
In the October issue of The Atlantic, editor James Bennett takes a long look at campaign finance reforms and their impact on our democracy through the competing visions of Legal Center President Trevor Potter and anti-reformer James Bopp. “The New Price of American Democracy” traces the history of campaign finance reforms, the scandals that led to them, and the courts’ reactions to those reforms.
- Sep 19, 2012
Today, the Campaign Legal Center filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to defend Hawaii’s contractor contribution ban and disclosure regulations in Yamada v. Weaver. Plaintiff-Appellant A-1 A-Lectrician, Inc. (A-1), a government contractor, seeks to overturn Hawaii’s pay-to-play law, as well as to invalidate a range of disclosure requirements applicable to independent spending in state elections.
Court Accepts Legal Center Brief Defending Contribution Limits Despite Opposition from Illinois Liberty PACSep 18, 2012
Today, a federal court in Illinois accepted an amici brief by the Campaign Legal Center, Chicago Appleseed and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform defending state contribution limits over the objections of Illinois Liberty PAC, the plaintiff in the case. The Legal Center had originally submitted the brief last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, with the assistance of local counsel David R. Melton and Thomas Rosenwein, in a challenge to Illinois’ contribution limits.
Appeals Court Panel Overturns Van Hollen v. FEC, Disclosure Laws on Hold for 2012 Cycle: Statement of J. Gerald Hebert, Executive DirectorSep 18, 2012
Today’s decision by the DC Court of Appeals is disappointing in that it will allow the continuing wholesale evasion of disclosure laws passed by Congress and upheld by the courts. At issue in this case is an FEC regulation that resulted in an almost complete failure by groups making “electioneering communications” to publicly disclose their contributors.
- Sep 11, 2012
Tomorrow night Legal Center President Trevor Potter and Jonathan Soros of the Roosevelt Institute will take on David Keating of the Center for Competitive Politics and Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine at the Intelligence Squared debate, “Two Cheers for Super PACs: Money in Politics is Still Overregulated.”
In an Oxford-style debate from 6:45-8:30 p.m. at the Kauffman Center in New York, Potter & Soros will argue against the motion while Keating & Sullivan will argue for it. The debate will be moderated by ABC News correspondent and author John Donvan.
In this election cycle when more money is being spent by outside groups than ever before, it is crucial that we have an open and honest discussion about the role of money in politics. This debate is an exciting opportunity to do just that, and have an interesting, in-depth conversation about money in politics and its impact on our democracy.
- Sep 11, 2012
The somber occasion of the 11th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is a reminder that the freedoms we enjoy in this great country can never be taken for granted. In the wake of Cold War, we learned that tragic day that even with the Soviet Union gone there were still those who resented our democracy and our basic rights to free speech and to vote in free, democratic elections.
In the Amendments to our Constitution, no right has been more frequently expanded and safeguarded than the right to vote. It is a right that is at the core of our democracy and our freedom. It is not a right we should ever take for granted. It is a right we must always defend whenever there are efforts to deny or abridge it.
- Sep 6, 2012
After each decennial federal census, state and local governments across the country begin the process of redrawing their congressional districts, state legislative seats, and local governing bodies to accommodate population shifts. All state and local redistricting plans must comport with federal limitations, most notably constitutional equal population requirements and the Voting Rights Acts of 1965, as amended (VRA). Unless constrained by state constitutional or statutory requirements, state and local governments have wide latitude to develop and apply their own redistricting criteria. In practice, however, few state laws set more rigorous standards than those already required under federal law.
- Sep 5, 2012
Convention season is upon us, and the Democratic National Convention is getting underway in Charlotte this week. Given that the Republican platform unabashedly celebrates Citizens United and denounces campaign finance reform of any kind, the Democrats now have their turn to show where they stand on changing the current campaign finance system as well as voting rights.
Last week, the GOP stand was clear and, in a word, radical. The platform opposes increased disclosure, including disclosure of the identities of those bankrolling the millions of dollars in “dark money” ad buys by social welfare groups and trade associations. The GOP, not surprisingly after the debate on the DISCLOSE Act this Congress, frames its opposition in terms of constitutional rights, and declares campaign financing to be free “speech that is protected.”
- Sep 5, 2012
Today, the en banc Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously found that a challenge to the State of Minnesota’s corporate contribution restriction was unlikely to succeed, but split on the constitutionality of certain aspects of the state’s disclosure law for corporate independent expenditures in Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) v. Swanson.