Posts Tagged ‘Campaign finance reform’
Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Vbhotla
Absent intervention into campaign finance reform by the judicial branch, those hoping to put limits on what has been referred to as a”floodgate” of campaign funding made possible by last year’s Citizens United ruling have sought help from the Federal Communications Commission.
Media Access Project senior vice president and policy director Andrew Schwartzman argued last week that the FCC has long had the power to require political groups to disclose donors when running political ads. In a petition filed March 22, he calls on the agency “to amend and strengthen its rules to require on-air identification of persons paying” ‘25% or more of the cost of an ad, according to the organization’s official press release.
Schwartzman said, “The FCC has repeatedly said that members of the public are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded, and it has stressed that this is especially important in the case of political messages. This petition simply seeks to update the FCC’s rules to fulfill its Congressional mandate.”
The petition points out what it believes to be “a fundamental policy…that ‘listeners are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded.”
This effort by the Media Access Project is the latest attempt by campaign finance reformers seeking to narrow the reach of theCitizens United decision. Several attempts have been made to urge the Supreme Court to re-define the judgement’s implications, but the Court has declined to hear these appeals.
Tags: Campaign Finance, Campaign finance reform, Citizens United, FCC, media access project
Posted in Government Relations Alert | Comments Off on Finance Reformers Seek Regulatory Help
Monday, November 8th, 2010 by Vbhotla
In what many are calling a follow-up to the Citizens United ruling, and a blow to campaign finance reform, the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in the Speechnow.org vs. FEC case last week. Many are suggesting this broadens the reach of Citizens United and allows for increases freedom of speech in the electoral process.
The decision allows for unlimited donations to “independent expenditure groups” such as Speechnow.org, and challenges FEC regulation of campaign donations. While unlimited donations allows for greater spending on campaigns, it also maintained disclosure requirements, noting that continued registration and disclosure will be required.
Under the ruling, Speechnow and similar groups must register as a PAC and disclose contributions. As a result, over 50 such groups popped up around the country ahead of the mid-term elections, and this election cycle saw record spending. Watchdog group opensecrets.org noted that “significant investments from outside groups helped elect more than 200 federal candidates.”
Though both Democrats and Republicans received outside donations, it was Republicans who saw the greatest benefits of organizations’ ability to receive unlimited donations, and in turn, spend in unlimited proportions.
Tags: campaign donations, campaign finance limits, Campaign finance reform, Citizens United, Disclosure, FEC, Speechnow.org v FEC
Posted in Government Relations Alert | Comments Off on Supreme Court upholds PAC disclosure requirements
Friday, October 29th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is seeking information regarding why Jack Abramoff was prevented from talking to the media about his role in what the organization’s executive director, Melanie Sloan calls “one of the largest congressional corruption scandals in history.” The full complaint filed in a suit against the Department of Justice can be found here.
Following up with a story posted earlier this week, “Campaign Finance Reformers see a tough road ahead,” the FEC has again come under fire for its lax regulation heading into the mid-term elections. Huffington Post reported, “according to campaign finance experts, it’s unlikely” that the FEC will punish campaign finance law violators any time soon. The article goes on to refer to the FEC as ” a toothless tiger made up of six members that usually deadlocks on the important decisions.”
Lobbyists and organizations may be given a "get out of jail free" card by the FEC and the Obama administration, at least for a little while.
This snowballs into another issue: President Obama’s demonstrated lack of commitment to advance his campaign reform platform. So far, despite having the opportunity (and perhaps responsibility, since the terms have ended) to replace three commissioners whose aversions to the regulatory laws reportedly prevent them from voting in favor of committee action against potential violators, the FEC’s make-up remains unchanged.
Donald McGhan, who remains a commissioner pending appointment of a successor, once said “[The FEC is] ‘not like other agencies because you have the charge of the fox guarding the hen-house. You gonna appoint your guys to make sure you are taken care of. The original intent was for it to be a glorified Congressional committee. That’s the way I see it,'” according to a column written by Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The president is reportedly waiting on members of the Senate to recommend new FEC commissioners for him to appoint before replacing any members.
The Veterans’ Alliance for Security and Democracy (VetPAC) is one of several organizations griping about the Chamber of Commerce election spendings. The group filed suit against the Chamber Oct. 18, alleging its receipt of foreign funds may in some way damage the purity of its campaign contributions. VetPAC is surely banking on FEC regulation (no pun intended).
Tags: Campaign Finance, Campaign finance reform, FEC, Jack Abramoff
Posted in Campaign Finance, Lobbying News, Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up | Comments Off on Weekly News Round-up
Monday, October 25th, 2010 by Vbhotla
The Federal Election Commission does not intend to publish a rulemaking on the Citizens United decision until after the November mid-terms, despite having had almost ten months to do so. Democrats have urged the FEC to utilize their rulemaking power to blunt what they see as overwhelming corporate money in federal elections.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) led the charge of 15 senators requesting greater regulation of foreign campaign contributions, penning a letter to the FEC saying “while Congress will need to act, the Commission must immediately do its part to protect our elections from foreign influence,” and calling for strengthened policies and less ambiguous interpretations of the ruling.
After the failure of this summer’s DISCLOSE Act in the Senate, campaign finance reformers are not seeing action on the controversial judicial decision in the immediate future. Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s campaign finance lobbyist, told Politico, “This is a low point for the campaign finance reform movement — I’ve never seen it lower.”
Indeed, the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act has suffered tremendous blows at the hands of the Supreme Court and FEC regulation. The agency has said it will alter its enforcement to be in compliance with the ruling, but has failed to implement any actual policies to do so thus far. Lobbyists who manage PACs or contribute to federal campaigns should be aware of the massive amount of maneuvering going on behind the scenes with campaign finance reform and potential implementation.
Tags: Campaign Finance, Campaign finance reform, Citizens United, DISCLOSE Act, FEC
Posted in Government Relations Alert | Comments Off on Campaign finance reformers see a tough road ahead
Friday, October 15th, 2010 by Vbhotla
DC insiders are just not sure of the chances of campaign finance reform these days. With the failure of votes of DISCLOSE, Congress seems reluctant to address the issue again. They have a lot of work to accomplish in their post-mid-term lame duck session, and campaign finance reform seems to be lacking a true champion in the Senate – especially with Harry Reid’s political future in play.
Another clip from December’s upcoming “Casino Jack” feature film on Jack Abramoff has surfaced. This time, it features Kevin Spacey as Abramoff and Barry Pepper as Michael Scanlon.
A look from Roll Call at the connection between the “natural gas lobby” and Democratic allies… and where they’re going from here.
Sen. Chuck Grassley’s hold on Norm Eisen’s nomination is profiled at Foreign Policy. Sen. Grassley is unhappy with Eisen’s handling of the firing of Gerald Walpin as Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). (H/T Eric Brown at Political Activity Law). UPDATED: Rick Hasen has confirmed that Norm Eisen is still at the White House: http://electionlawblog.org/archives/017387.html
Quote of the Week:
“Campaigns will typically try to go as far as they think they can get away with… [but] the hazard is if you don’t pay your vendors, it’s hard to get anybody new.” Unnamed source on unpaid campaign debts, Roll Call, October 14.
Tags: Campaign finance reform, Casino Jack, Norm Eisen
Posted in Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up | Comments Off on Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up