- Legal Center Files in Defense of Texas Campaign Finance Laws
- Eighth Circuit Rehears Minnesota Disclosure Case
- Reform Groups Urge Chairman Durbin to Stave Off Attempts to Repeal or Defund Presidential Public Financing System
- Legal Center President Speaks at AEI Event on Modernizing Voter Registration System
- Policy Director Participates in Business Ethics Network Webinar
- Associate Counsel Addresses AU class
Legal Center Files in Defense of Texas Campaign Finance Laws
On September 21, the Campaign Legal Center filed an amicus brief in Texas Democratic Party, et al. v. King Street Patriots, et al. defending the constitutionality of Texas’s campaign finance laws.
The Texas Democratic Party originally filed an action seeking damages and declaratory and injunctive relief in connection to several violations of state campaign finance laws allegedly committed by the King Street Patriots, including violations of Texas’s restriction on corporate political contributions, failure to register as a “political committee” and failure to comply with state disclosure law. In response to the suit, the King Street Patriots filed a counterclaim challenging on constitutional grounds numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law.
“This is just one case in an aggressive nationwide litigation offensive seeking to invalidate a broad swath of state campaign finance laws in the wake of Citizens United,” said Legal Center Counsel Tara Malloy. “But Citizens United simply does not support the radical result the King Street Patriots and other anti-reform litigants seek. The Supreme Court did not consider a corporate contribution restriction in Citizen United, and eight of the nine Justices actually strongly endorsed disclosure in that opinion. We hope the district court affirms the constitutionality of Texas’s law, as it should.”
To read the full press release click here.
To read the Legal Center’s amicus brief opposing the King Street Patriots’s counterclaim, click here.
Eighth Circuit Rehears Minnesota Disclosure Case
On September 21, 2011, the en banc Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) v. Swanson after granting appellant MCCL’s petition for rehearing. The case concerns a challenge to Minnesota’s comprehensive disclosure requirements for independent expenditures and its restriction on corporate contributions to state candidates and political parties, which were enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.
On May 16, the Eighth Circuit affirmed that MCCL was unlikely to prevail in its challenge to either Minnesota’s disclosure requirements or its restriction on corporate contributions. MCCL petitioned the Eighth Circuit for a rehearing on the disclosure claims, and the Court of Appeals granted the petition in July 2011.
In December of 2010, the Campaign Legal Center, together with Democracy 21, filed an amici brief in the case to defend the challenged Minnesota campaign finance laws. To read the brief, click here.
Reform Groups Urge Chairman Durbin to Stave Off Attempts to Repeal or Defund Presidential Public Financing System
On September 12, the Legal Center along with other reform groups asked Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, to fight efforts to terminate or defund the presidential public financing system. The letter praised Sen. Durbin’s leadership on public financing issues and asked that he continue to guard against efforts to do away with the system like those already introduced this year or that will likely come up going forward in the appropriations process.
The letter cites legislation introduced in the Senate as well as two measures already passed in the House that would end the longstanding and highly successful program that was created in the wake of the scandals the engulfed the Nixon Administration in the Watergate era.
The organizations signing the letter included the Campaign Legal Center, Americans for Campaign Reform, Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, People For the American Way, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG.
To read the full letter click here.
Legal Center’s President Speaks at AEI Event on Modernizing Voter Registration System
On September 19, Legal Center President Trevor Potter and other leading experts on voter registration participated in “Bringing Voter Registration into the 21stCentury” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and co-sponsored by the Pew Center on the States. The meeting focused on the problems with and suggestions for improving the current US voter registration system.
As general counsel to John McCain’s 2000 and 2008 campaigns, Potter explained that he found it troubling that the nation is entering yet another election cycle without accurate voter lists, which undermines trust in our democracy. “Partisan warriors,” he said, “are the only people drafting solutions, and they do not trust the other side.”
To watch video excerpts of Potter’s appearance at the event click here.
Policy Director Participates in Business Ethics Network Webinar
On Tuesday, September 13, Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee participated in a webinar sponsored by the Business Ethics Network to discuss “Saving Our Democracy: Reining in Corporate Electioneering Post Citizens United”. McGehee was joined by Legal Center board member Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Public Citizen’s Craig Holman in discussing the impact of Citizens United, possible responses to the decision and remedies to the problems resulting from it. The webinar also discussed Super PACs, efforts to increase corporate disclosure of political spending to shareholders and the Obama Administration’s proposed Executive Order on disclosure for government contractors that has languished since it was first made public.
McGehee emphasized the need for President Obama to appoint new Commissioners to the Federal Election Commission and to build a public campaign to help mobilize citizens who understand the pay-to-play system in Washington but feel disconnected.
Associate Counsel Addresses AU class
On September 20, 2011, Legal Center Associate Counsel Tara Malloy addressed a Washington Semester class at American University. The subject of the class was the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and its effects on U.S. elections.