Appearances, Publications & Speeches
- Oct 2, 2013
Are you worried that millionaires don't have enough influence in our elections? If you can't contribute more than $123,000 to politicians, are your free speech rights harmed?
At least 99% of Americans would laugh at the absurdity of these questions, but not Shaun McCutcheon, an Alabama political donor. McCutcheon v. FEC, his court challenge to the $123,200 aggregate contribution limit, has made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where it will be heard on October 8.
Aggregate limits -- or the total someone can contribute to federal candidates and committees each two-year election cycle -- was previously before the Supreme Court.
CLC President Potter's Opening Remarks on McCutcheon v. FEC at the National Press Club's Newsmaker Event, October 1, 2013Oct 1, 2013
While there has been much jurisprudential movement at the Supreme Court over the last five years in campaign finance cases, that movement has centered on independent expenditures—money spent by individuals, corporations, unions, and other groups to speak independently of candidates.
During this time, there has been no movement to change the almost four decades long standard that the government may limit the size of contributions to candidates and party committees, including aggregate or total federal contributions, to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.
In the McCutcheon v. FEC case, the Supreme Court will now face a challenge to the aggregate contribution limit, first upheld by the Court in Buckley in 1976.
Trevor Potter's Opening Remarks on McCutcheon v. FEC at the National Press Club's Newsmaker Event, October 1, 2013Oct 1, 2013
Remarks by CLC President Trevor Potter at the National Press Club's Newsmaker Event, October 1, 2013.
While there has been much jurisprudential movement at the Supreme Court over the last five years in campaign finance cases, that movement has centered onindependent expenditures—money spent by individuals, corporations, unions, and other groups to speak independently of candidates.
To read the full remarks, click here.
- Sep 26, 2013
In yet another display of the Texas judiciary's overt partisanship in the legal saga over Tom DeLay's alleged money laundering scheme during the 2002 Texas elections, a court of appeals overturned DeLay's conviction last Thursday.
Disappointingly -- yet perhaps unsurprisingly -- the court of appeals' decision split along partisan lines. The two Republican judges, Melissa Goodwin and David Gaultney, found that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's 2010 guilty verdict. But as Chief Justice J. Woodfin Jones (a Democrat) noted in his dissent, there was evidence from which rational jurors could find that DeLay and two of his associates illegally funneled corporate funds to candidates for Texas offices and DeLay's guilt was a decision for the jury to decide.
- Jul 18, 2013
After the elevated philosophical thoughts of Michael Sandel and David Brooks the last two mornings, I am afraid I am going to lower the tone and be crass and talk about Money---and not just any money, but Money in Politics.
- Jul 10, 2013
CBS profit will climb by $180 million this year from political advertising, Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said, exceeding the amount received by the company in the last presidential election year. Political action committees are boosting the amount of money being spent on television and radio commercials in support of candidates and issues, Moonves said today at an entertainment law conference at the University of California, Los Angeles. CBS will take in more political ads than the 2008 presidential election year, he said. “Super PACs may be bad for America,” Moonves said, “but they’re very good for CBS.”
Bloomberg News, March 10, 2012
- Jun 26, 2013
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, struck down core provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The Court declared Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, invalidating the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions must seek federal approval of their voting changes under the Act. This decision is a major setback for voting rights and will have a real, detrimental impact on voters.
Without federal oversight of voting changes in the covered states, the cause of racial equality and effective participation by minority voters in our democracy is harmed in four ways:
- Jun 5, 2013
As someone who has devoted the vast majority of my professional career enforcing the Voting Rights Act, the imminent decision in the Shelby County, Alabama case will be of great interest to me. My perspective is a unique one: I spent over twenty years in the Department of Justice (most of that time enforcing the Voting Rights Act), and I have spent nearly twenty years in private solo practice representing state and local governments who have endeavored to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Moreover, of the approximately 209 state and political subdivisions that have bailed out since the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act liberalized the bailout requirements, I have represented around 95 percent of those jurisdictions.
- May 1, 2013
Four decades after the campaign finance reforms that followed Watergate, arguments over the role of money in politics seem increasingly tired and unproductive. We ought to build on the experience of recent years and consider what’s necessary for a new phase of political reform.
Reforms appear destined to fail unless they rest on three key points: They should focus not on further restricting funding for political activity but rather on broadening avenues of citizen participation; they should look beyond contributions to parties and candidates to take into account other ways that money influences politics, including through the intersection of lobbying and political funding; and they should be informed by the experiences of states and localities.
- Apr 18, 2013
Bipartisan agreements seem possible on immigration and perhaps even on guns. Could election reform be next? Is there an opportunity to move past the partisan rancor of the voting wars and modernize America's out-of-date election system?
We all know it needs improvement. Long lines on Election Day are only the most visible symptom, as some voters from Florida to Virginia to Ohio waited up to seven hours to make their voice heard in last year's election. The culprit often turns out to be the old-fashioned, paper-based registration system used across the country.