(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.
- Jun 22, 2010
Misinformation about the DISCLOSE Act continues to be circulated by opponents of the bill. One criticism has been that the timetable would be too short for the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to implement the legislation. Doing so is not the Herculean task critics maintain.
- Jun 21, 2010
With all the kerfuffle around the DISCLOSE Act, it is important to remember why this measure is necessary in the first place. 8 in 10 Americans disapproved of the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC which opened up virtually bottomless corporate and union treasury funds for spending on political advertising. Much of the new influx of money is expected to be laundered through shady groups with patriotic names or even trade associations.
The Supreme Court's Opinion in Citizens United makes it clear that the Court believes disclosure of the sources of funding for political ads during election campaigns is not only constitutional but desirable. Justice Kennedy stated that disclosure of the sources of funding of political advertising "provide[s] the electorate with information" and "insure[s] that the voters are fully informed about the person or group who is speaking." Eight of the nine Justices joined this portion of the Court's Opinion. This principle is embodied in the disclosure provisions of the DISCLOSE Act.
If further proof was needed as to the desperate need to pass the DISCLOSE Act to curb money laundering in federal elections, it was provided today by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In essence the Commission refused its General Counsel’s recommendation to investigate what appeared to be a clear violation of federal disclosure requirement laws
Despite the histrionics of the special interests in Washington, the core of the DISCLOSE Act is about disclosing the individuals or entities spending huge amounts of money to impact elections. It is not about suppressing free speech.
- Jun 17, 2010
The DISCLOSE Act most certainly should be signed into law this year and there are encouraging signs that it will be. Despite the recent hubbub made by special interests from across the political spectrum over the “NRA fix”, the bill remains a strong and necessary piece of legislation that will require accurate and timely disclosure of the big money being spent to influence elections.
- Jun 16, 2010
An army of influential Washington, D.C., players is busy working the phones and making the rounds on Capitol Hill this week trying to scuttle the DISCLOSE Act. The question now facing Members of the House is whether the DISCLOSE Act is worth voting for now that the "NRA fix" has been added. The answer is yes. Here’s why.
- Jun 15, 2010
Today the Campaign Legal Center and other reform groups urged the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act as Leadership weighs bringing the legislation to the floor for a vote this week. The legislation was introduced by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Mike Castle (R-DE) in response to the controversial Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC which opened the door for corporations and unions to spend their treasury funds in federal elections.
U.S. House: Reform Coalition Urges Speaker Pelosi to Back Office of Congressional Ethics Against ChallengesJun 9, 2010
In a letter sent today, a coalition of reform groups urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to stand behind the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against the latest challenge by Members seeking to undermine the OCE. The groups expressed their continued support of the OCE which has helped to revitalize a discredited and long dormant ethics process.