(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.
Campaign Legal Center & Democracy 21 Urge IRS to Issue New Regulations to Enforce the Statutory Limits on Campaign Activity by Section 501(c)(4) OrganizationsJul 27, 2011
Today, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a petition with the Internal Revenue Service, arguing that existing IRS regulations permit section 501(c)(4) groups to make far more campaign expenditures than is allowed by the Internal Revenue Code and requesting that the IRS issue new regulations that better enforce the law.
Rep. Watt’s Attempt to Gut Office of Congressional Ethics Fails: Statement of Meredith McGehee, Policy DirectorJul 22, 2011
It is a sad commentary that almost one third of the House followed the lead of Rep. Mel Watt (D-MC) and voted to eviscerate the budget of the only functioning element of the House ethics process. The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) should be strengthened, not weakened and no further proof of that is needed than the Ethics Committee’s completely inept handling of the investigation of Representative Maxine Waters.
- Jul 22, 2011
There is good news and bad news today in the House's vote to defeat the amendment offered by Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to gut the funding of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The good news is that it went down to defeat with 302 Members voting against it. The bad news is that there are at least 102 Members who are totally clueless about public perception and apparently about the facts of what has been occurring in the House ethics process.
- Jul 21, 2011
Today reform groups urged every Member of the House of Representatives to vote down an amendment to the Congressional budget bill that would slash the budget for the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) by 40 percent ($619,000). In a letter the groups praised the work of the OCE and condemned the attempt by Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to defund it.
- Jul 20, 2011
Today reform groups urged the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee to engage an outside counsel to complete the long-delayed investigation of Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA). The groups also praised the work of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and urged an expansion and strengthening of the office.
U.S. House: Reform Groups Urge Ethics Committee to Move Forward and Provide Accounting of Rep. Waters’ InvestigationJul 8, 2011
Today, a coalition of reform groups urged the House ethics committee to resume work on the long-pending investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and to provide a public accounting of the status of the case.
- Jul 5, 2011
Last Friday, Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) filed a summary judgment brief in his ongoing legal challenge to a FEC regulation that has improperly narrowed the scope of the McCain-Feingold law’s disclosure requirements and allowed nonprofit 501(c)(4) advocacy groups, 501(c)(6) business associations and others to spend millions on “electioneering communications” while keeping secret the donors who funded these ads.
FEC Surprises by Denying Request for Unlimited Candidate Solicitations for “Super PACs” in Unanimous VoteJun 30, 2011
The Federal Election Commission today voted unanimously to deny an advisory opinion request by Majority PAC and House Majority PAC seeking permission for federal officeholders and candidates to solicit unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions for federal “Super PACs.” While officeholders and candidates will be allowed to make solicitations for funds complying with the existing federal contribution limits and prohibitions, as some are already doing, the Commission, in keeping with comments filed by the Legal Center, declined to open yet another loophole in the law by allowing what would amount to illegal “soft money” solicitations.
- Jun 30, 2011
At an open meeting packed with cameras, campaign finance advocates and fans of The Colbert Report, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) denied a request by comedian Stephen Colbert to extend the so-called "press exemption" to allow Viacom corporation to secretly subsidize his proposed Colbert Super PAC. By a vote of 5-1, the Commissioners adopted an advisory opinion that finds that Viacom corporation, the media entity which owns and produces Mr. Colbert's television show, is entitled to the press exemption only insofar as Viacom produces or otherwise supports reporting and commentary on Colbert Super PAC during the Colbert Show. The opinion follows the course of action recommended by the Legal Center's comments filed with the FEC in the proceeding.