Appearances, Publications & Speeches
- Jun 2, 2014
On June 2nd, Trevor Potter delivered a speech at the Citizens Congress 2014: Restoring Equality in Our Democracy in San Luis Obispo, California. Potter criticizes not only the amount of money spent in federal campaigns, but also where the money comes from and how it is raised. Potter also proposes a system with full participation, with solutions to some of the problems in the current broken system.
- May 1, 2014
On April 30, Trevor Potter testified at a Senate Rules Committee hearing, “Dollars and Sense: How Undisclosed Money and Post-McCutcheon Campaign Finance Will Affect the 2014 Elections and Beyond.”
The hearing was chaired by Sen. Angus King (I-ME). Other witnesses included retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Federal Election Commission Vice Chair Ann Ravel and the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein.
To read Potter’s full written testimony, click here.
To read the testimony of all witnesses, click here.
To watch the full hearing on C-SPAN, click here.
- Apr 22, 2014Were you impressed over the winter when hotelier George Tsunis, nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Norway, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he had never been to Norway and confused a moderate political party with a “fringe” party?
Were you proud to be an American when the responses by the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, “The Bold and the Beautiful” producer Colleen Bell, were universally described as stammering and that the other nominees for Argentina and Iceland were labeled similarly unimpressive?
Even the nominee to head up the U.S. Embassy in one of the world’s most sensitive super powers, longtime Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), volunteered, “I’m no real expert on China.”
- Apr 22, 2014
Lecture by CLC President Trevor Potter to the Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University, April 22, 2014.
- Apr 14, 2014The problem isn’t that members of Congress travel too much. In fact, they probably should travel more. The issue is who pays for the travel.
The usual defense of privately financed travel is that it saves taxpayer money. Think again. As any experienced Washington hand can tell you, all of us pay. And pay, and pay again. The special interests that can afford to underwrite the trips get “face time” with members of Congress and their staff. This “face time” is golden and translates into valuable access-and-influence. This, in turn, translates into skewed public policies that too often favor those who pay for the travel.
That is the reason private interests forked over more than $3.7 million for free “educational opportunities” last year, a 10-year high. It is an effective lobbying tool.
- Mar 26, 2014
This past Sunday, the Washington Post ran an op-ed by one of their editors, Hilary Krieger, asking whether "a little corruption should matter to voters." She reported that D.C. incumbent mayoral candidate Vincent Gray has won her over, despite his ethical and campaign finance challenges. And she goes on to make the case that we may have tipped too far toward concern about ethical standards for public officials at the expense of good stewardship and the ability to "getting results in a fractious system."
- Mar 13, 2014
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision so radically changed the rules of our country’s political process that updating the 50-year-old IRS regulations governing 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations has jumped from long overdue to critically important. The announcement that the IRS would finally launch a rule-making to update those regulations is welcome news. While the initial IRS proposal clearly needs work, the Campaign Legal Center is actively participating in the regulatory process to significantly improve it. But the efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Ways and Means Chairman David Camp, R-Mich., are way off base when they attempt to paint the process as a partisan witch hunt.
- Feb 11, 2014
Controversy is swirling around a number of websites that have been set up by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in recent months. The websites have URLs and headlines that imply support for named Democratic candidates for Congress. The websites also have prominent “donate” buttons. But in less prominent text, the websites indicate opposition to the named candidates and any contributions made via the websites actually go to the NRCC.
- Jan 22, 2014
It has now been four years and two election cycles since the Supreme Court delivered its bombshell decision in the Citizens United case, and the damage to our democracy and to the public’s faith in its elected officials has been staggering. At a time when the Roberts court is poised to do even more damage in its forthcoming McCutcheon v. FEC decision – involving a challenge to the long-standing aggregate contribution limits – it’s worth reflecting on how we got here.
The most common – and understandable – complaint about the Supreme Court’s infamous 2010 Citizens United decision is that it treated corporations the same as individuals for purposes of campaign spending. As distressing as that is, there are other serious flaws in the decision that, until reversed, will continue to haunt and undermine our electoral process in the coming years.
- Jan 14, 2014
The growth of the Internet notwithstanding, television advertising continues to be the dominant means used during U.S. political campaigns to communicate with voters -- the "nuclear weapon" of campaigns as Obama advisor David Axelrod once described it.