FEC

Posted at 6:20pm on Apr. 26, 2008 Financing the General Election

How Big a Financial Disadvantage Will McCain Face?

By Brad Smith

Many Republicans have been worried that John McCain's decision to finance his general campaign by taking the federal subsidy, and thus subjecting himself to a mandatory spending cap, will leave McCain badly outspent in the fall, especially if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. Of course, we need to recognize that McCain probably didn't have a choice - it's not at all clear that he could raise more money in voluntary, private contributions than government is willing to give him. That said, how bad will he be outspent...

More after the jump.

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Posted at 10:04am on Feb. 25, 2008 Senator McCain, the DNC Complaint, and the Matching Funds Flap - All You Need to Know

By Brad Smith

Today the DNC announced it will file a complaint against Senator McCain for violating federal campaign finance law. Everything you need to know is in this post at the Center for Competitive Politics website, recently updated to account for developments.

Bottom line lessons: 1) Legal or not, Senator McCain will not abide by spending limits; and more importantly, 2) tax financing of campaigns is one bad idea.

Posted at 11:20am on Feb. 24, 2008 Everything you Want to Know About Senator McCain, Spending Limits, and the Federal Matching Funds Flap

By Brad Smith

So what the heck is up with Senator McCain and federal matching funds? Is Senator McCain stuck in the system, which would limit his spending to less than $5 million between now and September, thereby assuring certain, landslide defeat? Or can he wriggle free? What is the legal background? Is McCain behaving unethically? And what is Senator Obama's surprising role in all this?

Everything you need to know - and more - about Senator McCain and the flap over his agreement to take a federal subsidy for his campaign can be found in this posting at the Center for Competitive Politics website.

Posted at 7:26pm on Feb. 22, 2008 Senate Dems Block Democracy, Failure to Approve FEC Appointments Could Seriously Hurt McCain

By Tim Cameron

There is a very disturbing article in the Washington Post today, and I’m not talking about the Iseman story. This story is about how the FEC will not let Sen. John McCain withdraw from the presidential financing system. Federal Election Commission Chairman David M. Mason issued a letter to the McCain campaign yesterday notifying them that the commission had not granted his February 6th request to withdraw from the system. The Washington Post cites these two reasons in their article:

Read on . . .

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Posted at 9:31pm on Feb. 17, 2008 Dismantling Campaign Finance Laws

By Brad Smith

OK, OK, it's tacky, but cut me some slack, it's not like I do this every day. Here's our Washington Post piece on SpeechNow.org and its challenge to campaign finance laws. Speech now is represented by the Institute for Justice and the organization I chair, the Center for Competitive Politics.

Posted at 2:41pm on Feb. 15, 2008 Don't like Campaign Finance "Reform?" - Gotta Read This

"No Constitutionally Adequate Justification"

By Brad Smith

Yesterday a group called SpeechNow.org, represented by attorneys from the Center for Competitive Politics and the Institute for Justice, sued the Federal Election Commission in what one prominent campaign finance lawyer calls, "one of the more important and consequential [suits against campaign finance laws] in a long time," and which one supporter of broad campaign speech restrictions admitted is, "pretty brilliant."

There is much more to this suit than I have time to delve into here, but the basic claim is simple - if George Soros and other wealthy millionaires can Constitutionally spend whatever they want on politics, than under the Constitution groups of citizens banding together should also be able to spend whatever they want.

This page has a cornucopia of links to the pleadings in the case, a case "backgrounder," and tons of media links. If you care about free speech in America, check it out.

Note that I am one of the counsel for SpeechNow.org and am Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics.

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Posted at 8:01pm on Dec. 14, 2007 ActBlue: Nice Guys, Not Our Guys.

By krempasky

The FEC today ruled that contributions solicited bundled and transferred by actblue to the john edwards presidential campaign were not eligible for federal matching funds. Good.

But more disturbing was the appearance of David All in the story. Now, I know David was still on the hill when we had our last FEC vs. Blogs fight - and I presume he was a supporter at the time (his boss sure was), although I don't recall specifically. And some might try to draw a parallel between that confrontation over free speech and this decision regarding contributions.

But this - this is far different.

David's trying to play the "everything good for the web is good" game - but he's wrong. Additional support for government funding of campaigns is deeply anti-freedom and free speech, and no one on our side ought to countenance any such thing.

There are a lot of places and times to make common cause with democrats, and specifically the online left. This is hardly one of them and instead puts the parochial interests of vehicles like slatecard (the sad quotes from abcpac are notably absent) far, far ahead of the notions of free elections that embrace competition as the foundation. Instead, he's chosen subsidy.

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Posted at 4:55pm on Oct. 25, 2007 Congress moves to abolish the Federal Election Commission!

By Brad Smith

Congress moves to abolish the Federal Election Commission!

OK, not exactly, at least not in the straightforward sense of abolishing the Commission. But nonetheless, we may soon get to see if the nation can survive without a Federal Election Commission. The smart money yes says.

What's this all about? Well, read on..."

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Posted at 12:37am on Jun. 26, 2007 Enough is Enough! A Quick Take on Federal Election Commission v Wisconsin Right to Life

By Brad Smith

Monday's Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v Wisconsin Right to Life is cause for a little celebration. It's not a great day for Free Speech, but it's a pretty darn good one. Read on...

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Posted at 3:45pm on Jun. 25, 2007 Roberts and Alito oppose free speech in WRTL

By PatHMV

Supporters of campaign finance limitations on free speech are casting today's Supreme Court decision in Wisconsin Right to Life as a "Big Win for Campaign Finance Deregulation." It's not. No, it's a defeat, a serious defeat, brought about by the hands of the two most recent appointments to the Court.

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Posted at 1:41pm on Jun. 8, 2007 Is Being a Republican a Disqualification for Office? The Upcoming Senate Confirmation of FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky

By Brad Smith

On June 13, Federal Election Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky, now serving as a recess appointee, goes before the Senate Rules Committee for a hearing on his nomination to serve a full term. Portions of the left - including the Kossites - are apoplectic, and Senate Democrats are believed to be sharpening their knives. Hans von Spakovsky, they say, wants to disenfranchise America’s minorities – one of the most explosive charges one can make in modern America. And they are determined that this mild-mannered Atlanta lawyer will be the next scalp on their belts. So who is Hans von Spakovsky, what exactly has he done, and why should Republicans care if, to mix metaphors, he is hung out to dry?

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Posted at 2:24pm on Apr. 20, 2007 KS-3: Dennis 'PACMAN' Moore - Bought and Sold?

By Stay Red Kansas

Last week, www.stayredkansas.com promised an in-depth look at Congressman Dennis Moore’s most recent finance report. For the last few cycles, Moore has proved to be one of the most difficult 'Red State' Dems to unseat.

Before looking in-depth, though, Stay Red had taken a brief look at the report, noting that a moderate amount of Dennis’ donations seemed to originate in the hands of Political Action Committees and other special interest groups.

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Posted at 9:12pm on Apr. 13, 2007 About Brad Smith's "Sensible Reform" posting and a call for support on electronic disclosure

By mmalbin

Brad Smith this morning (April 13) wrote on his blog: "Last month, during the Senate debate over requiring electronic filing of Senatorial campaign finance reports, Sen. Bob Bennett offered an amendment to the bill to remove limits on coordinated party spending. This effort was denounced as a 'poison pill,' even by 'reform' organizations, most notably the Campaign Finance Institute, that declared their support for the amendment itself.... It will be interesting to see if the 'reform' organizations that claimed to support it, just not as part of the Senate electronic filing bill, will now publicly endorse the measure." Well Brad, all you needed to do was to ask me directly. But of course, that would have taken the fun out of trying to portray me, and the Campaign Finance Institute, as one of those nasty "reform" organizations (compete with quotation marks). In truth I -- speaking in my individual capacity -- have supported unlimited coordinated spending by the parties for nearly thirty years: from my first published writing on the subject, through my years working for the House Republican leadership, until now.

Read on . . .

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Posted at 8:11am on Apr. 13, 2007 At last, a sensible proposal for campaign finance reform

By Brad Smith

Last month, during the Senate debate over requiring electronic filing of Sentorial campaign finance reports, Sen. Bob Bennett offered an amendment to the bill to remove limits on coordinated party spending. This effort was denounced as a "poison pill," even by "reform" organizations, most notably the Campaign Finance Institute, that declared their support for the amendment itself.

Now Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, joined by Senator Bennett, has introduced the amendment as a stand alone measure, S. 1091. It will be interesting to see if the "reform" organizations that claimed to support it, just not as part of the Senate electronic filing bill, will now publicly endorse the measure. See here for more info on the bill, including the exact language, and read on below the fold.

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Posted at 12:17pm on Mar. 27, 2007 McCain-Feingold: no reason to celebrate this anniversary

Here's to rethinking the premise

By krempasky

“Every day, a dozen or more people wake up, get in their expensive cars and drive to their fancy offices where they draw a nice paycheck just to interfere with your rights to criticize your government.”
Today marks the 5th anniversary of President Bush's signing of a law which he claimed at the time to be unconstitutional. Five years ago today, John McCain got his way - enshrining into law some of the most sweeping restrictions of speech since the Alien and Sedition Acts. (more from Tapscott and CampaignFreedom)

With sweet irony, starting from the premise that money in politics = bad, McCain and his supporters in the "academic" and non-profit community steered millions of tax-exempt dollars into creating the mythology of a public outcry about campaign finance. Using registered lobbyists like Fred Wertheimer and company - even using his own PAC and campaigns at times - our government criminalized the most valuable form of speech: that of citizens criticizing their government.

What are we left with? A class of elites (most of which bill $400 an hour to advise their well-heeled clients on "compliance") who use the power of law to chill the speech of smaller speakers. And worse, their paranoia and desire to close loopholes knows no bounds. They even tell us that, no matter how complex or daunting the laws might be, "they are well worth whatever inconvenience and lawyers’ fees they may generate" (note: nice of the lawyers to look out for each other)

Oh, and by the way: I'm sure you've noticed the drastic reduction in political corruption. That's right - the freaking law doesn't even work.

Read on . . .

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