The Latest on Campaign Finance
Campaign Finance Cases and Actions
Federal campaign laws limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to national political party committees within a certain year. As a part of the 2014 “Cromnibus” budget bill, Congress tripled these base limits for contributions to parties provided the funds were used for select purposes. The Libertarian National Committee (LNC) is asking the federal appeals court in D.C. to find that neither the base limits nor the increased limits should apply to a contribution it received as a bequest from a particular individual’s estate. The LNC is also asking the court to find that the “special purpose” limits violate the First Amendment because they impermissibly restrict the LNC’s capacity to engage in political speech and association in general, as well to use the bequest in particular as it wishes.
The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and a number of other newspaper organizations are suing the state of Maryland to avoid complying with the state’s political ad transparency law. The law includes measures that allow the public to easily obtain information about groups and individuals seeking to influence their vote through ads run on online platforms.
CLC took action to address a pay-to-play in which a government contractor, private prison company GEO, violated the government contractor ban by making a six-figure donation to a super PAC supporting Trump just one day after the Obama Administration announced it would phase out the use of private prisons.
CLC works on the ground in cities and states fighting for a better democracy. We serve as an expert resource to citizen organizations working to improve democracy in their own neighborhoods. CLC provides model legislation, model ballot initiatives and specific expert guidance to help ensure that local reform measures are effective and will stand up in the courts.
Partisan disputes over whether foreign meddling in 2016 impacted election results are not productive. Rather, we must devote national resources to addressing the host of vulnerabilities that the 2016 election exposed, or they will be further exploited in elections to come. Congress and the Federal Election Commission should take steps now to protect our democratic process, such as requiring identification of online political advertisers and updating 40-year-old disclosure laws by passing the bipartisan Honest Ads Act.
CLC supports the enforcement of campaign finance laws by filing complaints against government agencies, such as the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and participating in legal action against candidates, political parties and agencies who fail to uphold campaign finance laws. In keeping with our mission, CLC has taken action against candidates and organizations on both sides of the political aisle, and will continue to do so.
Requiring disclosure of money spent in elections has been the bedrock of our political system for many years and has historically claimed widespread support from people across the political spectrum. But disclosure laws promoting transparency – or the voters' right to know – have come under relentless attack since the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC.