Breaking: #SCOTUS ❤️ Political Disclosure, Denies Cert. in CCP v. Harris

The Supreme Court, without noted dissent, has denied cert. in Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris. The question concerns whether CA AG Harris can have access to CCP’s donor list for law enforcement purposes (and not for public disclosure) or whether such access violates the First Amendment.

This cert. denial follows a string of cases in which the Supreme Court has endorsed disclosure as the appropriate way to deal with political activity (rather than campaign finance limits). These cases include McConnell v. FECCitizens United v. FEC, and Doe v. Reed.  Aside from Justice Thomas (and to some extent Justice Alito), the Court has a strong belief in the benefits of disclosure in providing valuable information to voters, deterring corruption, and aiding in law enforcement. It is clear Justice Kennedy is upset that political forces have not enhanced disclosure since Citizens United. There is no constitutional impediment to it, except as to those groups which can demonstrate a realistic threat of harassment.

The claims of harassment of contributors to conservatives causes have turned out to be greatly exaggerated. I explore this most recently in Chill Out: A Qualified Defense of Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws in the Internet Age, 27 Journal of Law and Politics 557 (2012).

This is good news, although disclosure is far from enough to deal with other problems with our campaign finance system.

 

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