(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.
Today the Campaign Legal Center and other reform groups urged Members of Congress to co-sponsor and push for passage of the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” (STOCK Act) designed to prevent congressional insider trading. In separate letters to the full House and Senate the groups encouraged Members you to join as co-sponsors and help pass the STOCK Act expeditiously. In the House the STOCK Act (H.R. 1148) was introduced by Reps. Timothy Walz (D-MN) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY). A companion bill (S. 1871) has been introduced the Senate side Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and another is expected shortly from Sen. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
At a press conference this morning in front of the U.S. Capitol, six reform groups called on Congress to pass a ‘disclosure only’ version of the DISCLOSE Act during the ‘lame duck’ session of the 111th Congress. Such a stripped-down bill would take away the issues that drew criticism from opponents of the legislation. At the event Public Citizen also unveiled a new study of the significant drop in donor disclosure by outside groups during the 2010 election cycle.
Unrestricted corporate speech in elections without disclosure of those funding the speech is contrary to the Court’s theory in Citizens United v. FEC, which paired corporate First Amendment speech rights with the virtues of disclosure of the sources of such speech—disclosure to shareholders and to the general public.
- Nov 16, 2010
The abuses of the earmark system has become so egregious that Congress is left with virtually no alternative but an outright ban on the unending stream of handouts to favored lobbyists and contributors. But it didn’t have to be this way.
- Nov 16, 2010
Given the multiple violations which Rep. Charles Rangel has publicly admitted to committing, a simple reprimand is an insufficient penalty. At the same time, expulsion is not on the table, and appropriately so. There was no evidence of egregious self-enrichment or specific corruption.
- Nov 8, 2010
Right through to Election Day, confusion reigned among the public and the press about the rules governing the estimated $4 billion-plus that was spent on the 2010 federal races.
- Nov 8, 2010
Right through to Election Day, confusion reigned among the public and the press about the rules governing the estimated $4 billion-plus that was spent on the 2010 federal races. The Campaign Legal Center has created a basic primer on the new campaign finance landscape heading into the 2012 election cycle.
- Nov 1, 2010Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, allowing a decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to stand which had upheld the comprehensive disclosure requirements applicable to SpeechNow.org and other federal political committees. SpeechNow.org had argued that committees making only independent expenditures, now known as “Super-PACs,” should be exempted from these disclosure requirements based on its claim that these requirements served no legitimate governmental purpose.
For a Small Amount of Doctrinal Gain, the Citizens United Majority Produced a Maximum Amount of PainOct 28, 2010
On reflection, the doctrinal shift in Citizens United was not as enormous as first thought--the Court really only moved from substantial First Amendment rights for corporations to unlimited rights. However, the snowball effect has been larger than the majority may have expected, especially because of FEC sabotage of the Court's disclosure expectations. Just ask the people of Colorado or Nevada or other battleground states what the practical applications have meant.
- Oct 26, 2010
The first reform that should be passed regarding outside spending is disclosure of the amount of money being spent, by whom, from whom, for what. Current law may only be showing the tip of the iceberg. Congress should take heed of the Supreme Court’s 8-to-1 ruling in Citizens United in favor of disclosure, stating that such disclosure is not only constitutional, but is the expected and indeed necessary counter-balance to the new corporate right to expend unlimited funds in US elections.