Appearances, Publications & Speeches
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.
- 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.
- 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 Is there an opportunity to move past the partisan rancor of the voting wars and modernize America's out-of-date election system?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.
- Jan 8, 2013
It is difficult to overstate the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, overturned or ignored the Court’s own precedents and federal, state, and local statutes that had been in place for more than 60 years. The immediate impact of Citizens United and subsequent cases was a dramatic increase in the amount that outside groups (both super PACs and certain nonprofit organizations) could raise and spend in federal elections. Given Citizen United’s exceedingly narrow definition of “corruption,” and its broad statements dismissing the concerns of those who believe that unlimited spending by well-financed interests is potentially corrupting, reformers are correct to worry about what other federal and state campaign finance laws may be invalidated in the future.
- Nov 19, 2012
Don’t blame Citizens United for the worst excesses of this year’s election.
Instead, look to the failures of the Federal Election Commission.
- May 23, 2012
Remarks by CLC President Trevor Potter at the The American Law Institute's 89th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., May 23, 2012.
I am often asked how, after 25 years as an election lawyer, service as an FEC Commissioner, and General Counsel to 2 presidential campaigns, did you end up as Stephen Colbert’s lawyer on late night TV. The answer is “I was lucky…”
To read the full remarks, click here.
To view video footage of the speech, click here.
- Apr 16, 2012The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United allowed them. Political candidates rely on them. And Stephen Colbert parodies them. But as a former chair of the Federal Election Commission and the lawyer behind Colbert’s super PAC — Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow — I find that most people don’t understand the role that these largely unaccountable organizations play in American politics. As the GOP primary race draws to a close, let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about groups powerful enough to evade traditional limits with a single bound.
- Dec 19, 2011
On December 2, 2011, Campaign Legal Center President Trevor Potter addressed the current state of affairs of our federal campaign finance system in a speech in Austin before the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas. The remarks recount the series of actions that brought us to where we are today and chart a path toward a remedy for a system veering toward election-by-auction. The text of the speech follow below.
I’m glad that my work as the lawyer for Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC makes introductions so easy: you can just show some of the clips of me giving legal advice on air! As that video illustrated, though, even the communications genius of Stephen Colbert cannot always make the legal intricacies of Super PACs easy. So, let me start by summarizing how we got to where we are today.
- Dec 2, 2011
On December 2, 2011, Campaign Legal Center President Trevor Potter addressed the current state of affairs of our federal campaign finance system in a speech in Austin before the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas. The remarks recount the series of actions that brought us to where we are today and chart a path toward a remedy for a system veering toward election-by-auction.