Today’s Must Read: Lee Drutman on La Raja and Schaffner on Campaign Finance and Polarization


Last December, as part of the must-pass “CRomnibus” bill, Congress changed the lawso that political parties could raise considerably more money. Under the new rules, a single donor can now give $1.5 million to the parties during a two-year election cycle.

Good government groups were predictably upset. But another group of observers had a different view: In their view, political parties may not be perfect, but the alternative to strong political parties is extremism and chaos. They argued that you can’t get money out of politics. But you can channel it. And if you want moderation, political parties are the best channel.

Two of the leading advocates of this view, Raymond J. La Raja and Brian F. Schaffner of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, now have a new book, Campaign Finance and Political Polarization: When Purists Prevail, which makes the strongest and most extended case yet for allowing political parties to control more money. “Our argument” they write, “is that financially strong party organizations should reduce party polarization.” They’re also skeptical about small donors, which they dismiss as polarizing.

My colleague Mark Schmitt has written the definitive overview of the reform skeptic movement, a larger group of mostly academics (which include La Raja and Schaffner) who, as Schmitt explains, offer a “challenge to many of the assumptions and unexamined verities of those who aspire to reform the American political process.”

What follows here is a more targeted discussion of two specific debates this new book raises: about the value of empowering political parties, as well as its skepticism of empowering small donors. Although the small-donor critique is a side point of the book, it’s an important critique to address, given the full-fledged push by many campaign reformers into small-donor experiments.

Here’s the quick summary of my take: Stronger parties will not move to the center because there are both few meaningful opportunities to move to the center and little meaningful center to move toward. The median voter theory on which they stake so much simply does not operate under our current political rules. The claim that small donors are polarizing reflects a failure to understand how a small-donor matching system would change the incentives of running for office and of giving.

And while I disagree with the conclusions La Raja and Schaffner reach, I happily recommend their book. It’s clearly written, full of data, and provocative. And I do agree with their implicit criticism that reformers often fail to investigate their assumptions and as a result develop overly simplistic and counterproductive models of the world, often in a too simple corruption framework.


Bauer on FEC Chair Ann Ravel’s Daily Show Appearance


To be clear, and to be fair: Commissioner Ravel did not appear to choose the particular example; there is plenty to complain about in the design of the campaign finance law and ample grounds on which to question, on a number of issues, the FEC’s performance; and certainly no opinion is expressed here about the legal affairs of the Fiorina Super PAC.  Nor is there any doubt that The Daily Show, like the Colbert turns with Trevor Potter, can be exceedingly entertaining and score a useful point here and there.

Commissioner Ravel concluded, however, that as Chair of the agency, she could help inform the public about the agency’s failings, and perhaps help bring pressure to right the ship, by appearing in a Daily Show routine.  It is not clear that, as an official communication, this will work as intended. Certainly, the audience would not likely have come away with the impression registered by the judge presiding over the challenge to the “name” rule: “U.S. federal election law is complex.”  Id. at *2.


“Federal judge, GOP lawyer have lively exchanges over open-primary lawsuit”

News from Montana:

In a hearing on a lawsuit to restrict Republican primary elections to party members only in Montana, a federal judge Thursday questioned whether non-Republican voters are actively crossing over to vote in and influence GOP legislative primaries here.

“So, voters are going to give up their right to vote for the president, the U.S. Senate and congressional (candidates of their own party) … to vote to screw up the other guy’s legislative candidates?” asked U.S. District Judge Brian Morris. “You’re telling me that happens regularly?”

Matthew Monforton, a lawyer representing numerous GOP central committees, told Morris it does happen – and that’s why Republicans should be allowed to close their primary elections to members only.



“Sanders drops line attacking super PACs from speech after super PAC backs him”


Bernie Sanders’ disapproval of super PACs is a stand-by theme in his stump speech, and it’s a concept that was included in the prepared remarks of his much-anticipated speech on democratic socialism on Thursday.
But the pre-written line went missing on Thursday, as Sanders — with two TelePrompTers standing before him — skipped straight from a passage about mandatory voter registration to a line-by-line explanation of the differences between his own ideology and the socialism people commonly think of.
“It is unacceptable that we have a corrupt campaign finance system which allows millionaires, billionaires and large corporations to contribute as much as they want to super PACs to elect candidates who will represent their special interests,” Sanders’ was expected to say during his address at Georgetown University. “We must overturn Citizens United and move to public funding of elections.”



“Loyola Law School to Host Symposium on Corporate Rights and Political Spending”

Release for an event I’ll be speaking at Friday:

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Free Speech for People will host the symposium “Corporations, the Constitution, and Democracy” featuring a slate of prominent corporate, constitutional and election-law scholars and a keynote address by the Hon. Leo E. Strine, Jr., chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. The event will be held on Friday, Nov. 20 from 12-4:30 p.m. on Loyola’s downtown LA campus.

The panel “The Future of Corporate Constitutional Rights Litigation and Theory,” will feature Margaret M. Blair, Vanderbilt Law School; Erwin Cherminsky, UC Irvine School of Law; Sarah Haan, University of Idaho College of Law; James D. Nelson, University of Houston Law Center; Anne Tucker, Georgia State University College of Law; and Adam Winkler, UCLA School of Law. The panel “Democracy, Corporations and Money in Politics” will include Jeff Clements, Free Speech for People; Richard L. Hasen, UC Irvine School of Law; Michael S. Kang, Emory University School of Law; Jessica Levinson, Loyola Law School; Michele Sutter, Money Out Voters In; and Abby Wood, USC Gould School of Law.

Chief Justice Strine, a preeminent corporate law jurist, will deliver the keynote address, “Corporate Power Ratchet: The Courts’ Role in Eroding ‘We the People’s’ Ability to Constrain Our Corporate Creations.” Closing remarks will come from John Bonifaz, Free Speech for People, and Elizabeth Pollman, Loyola Law School. The afternoon will conclude with a reception.



“Pillar of Law Challenges Illinois Cannabis Campaign Contribution Ban”


The Pillar of Law Institute filed a lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois arguing that Illinois law censors speech. The law, enacted as part of the state’s medical marijuana pilot program in 2014, prohibits cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries from making political contributions to candidates for state office. The suit is brought on behalf of Claire Ball, a Libertarian candidate who is running for the office of comptroller in the 2016 election and is prohibited under the law from accepting contributions from medical marijuana organizations. Scott Schluter, a Libertarian candidate who is running for state representative, joins her in this suit.


“2 Election Lawyers to Study Impact of ‘Super PACs’ on ’16 Race”


“Super PACs,” the outside groups that can raise unlimited funds but can’t coordinate with candidates they support, have unquestionably had an impact on the 2016 presidential race. But to what extent and in what ways is not yet clear.

Two leading election lawyers – Bob Bauer, a Democrat, and Ben Ginsberg, a Republican – will lead a research project with major universities and veterans of presidential politics to answer that question, along with others about campaign finance, one of the premier issues of the 2016 presidential race.

Their report, to be issued in 2017, will draw on deep analysis of spending data, including looking at how campaign financing affected the nominating contests in both parties. The idea is not to be prescriptive but instead diagnostic about the way the huge changes in the campaign finance system since 2010 have altered presidential polit


Here’s the full press release:

Political scientists from around the country have agreed to participate in a major research project to study the campaign finance system in the United States. The project, now underway, is expected to result in a public report to be issued in 2017.   

The project is being organized by  by Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, formerly co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, and the PCEA’s former Senior Research Director, Stanford Law Professor Nate Persily. With the generous support and other assistance from the Hewlett Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and the Hoover Institution, the project will involve an independent and rigorous examination of how money in a rapidly changing campaign system is being raised and spent, drawing on careful data collection and quantitative analysis, with additional material drawn for qualitative assessment from information made available by campaigns, parties and other political organizations. 

The report will not feature policy recommendations but will provide a descriptive account of campaign finance, including attention to political parties; independent and other non-party organizations; the changing media environment, such as the uses of digital communication and social media; disclosure of campaign funding and spending; and issues specific to the Presidential campaign process. 

Since their collaboration on the PCEA, Bauer, Ginsberg and Persily have continued to work together on election administration issues through the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC.  Bauer also teaches political law and reform at New York University School of Law, which is providing the administrative support for this new project, and Ginsberg and Persily have taught this subject together at Stanford.   


Today’s Must-Read: New CFI Report on Small Donors and Public Financing

Among the key findings of the new CFI report: small donors are not (necessarily) more polarized than other individual donors. This has been a key question in the debate over small donor public financing. From the release:

Citizen Funding for Elections

What do we know?
What are the effects?
What are the options?

Download Full Report.

The Campaign Finance Institute today released a new report written by Michael J. Malbin – CFI’s executive director and a professor of political science at the University at Albany (SUNY). The report’s title is Citizen Funding for Elections: What do we know? What are the effects? What are the options?

The following description is excerpted from the executive summary:

Political campaigns have always been financed disproportionately by people with above average incomes…. But the balance has tilted almost beyond recognition since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission…. As a result, a number of jurisdictions have been looking recently to rebalance the incentives through new (or updated) citizen funding programs or tax credits to enhance the role of small donors.

When looking at these new programs and proposals, it is striking how common impulses have led to a wide variety of policy ideas, and an even wider set of justifications and expectations about what the new programs are meant to accomplish. Some want to drive money out of politics; some to increase competition; some to bring a different type of politician into office; and some to enhance participation. In light of this policy ferment, this report seeks to lay out for policy makers what is known and not yet known about whether citizen funding and other incentive programs have accomplished or are likely to accomplish their stated goals.

To preview the conclusions:

    • It is obvious – certainly in the new world of independent spending – that citizen funding programs do not and cannot squeeze private money out of politics.


    • However, a properly designed program can increase the proportional importance of small donors to candidates and increase participation by an economically and demographically more representative cadre of campaign supporters. Candidates may choose to depend on large donors if they wish, but a well-structured program can make it possible for a candidate to choose otherwise. In the most effective programs, substantial percentages of the candidates make this choice and participate.


    • Interestingly, these results probably do not occur because small donors react spontaneously and directly to matching funds or tax credits. Instead, the research suggests (but is not yet conclusive) that the incentives work by affecting candidates (or political parties and other intermediary actors). The small donors are worth more (both financially and as volunteers), so the candidates and others are willing to spend more time and resources to mobilize them.


    • Whether increasing small donors will favor political polarization will depend on a program’s details, but small donors generally are not more polarized than other individual donors.


    • Citizen funding may also affect other aspects of a candidate’s behavior – from deciding to run, to how they conduct campaigns. However, the research here is not fully settled.


    • The findings are similarly mixed with respect to electoral competition. Public money seems to help when competition is defined one way (focusing on whether races are uncontested or whether candidates run), but not if defined differently (with a focus on the margins of victory in competitive races, or the defeat of incumbents).


    • Research on the post-election effects in government finds more of an impact on agenda-setting than on end-stage roll call votes.


    • Policy-makers need to be aware that answers often depend upon the precise questions asked.


    • Finally, and very importantly from a policy-maker’s perspective, the research shows clearly that a program’s fine-grained details can make a huge difference in outcomes. For supporters of citizen funding or tax incentives, this means that passing a program with a good-sounding label will not be enough to accomplish their goals. Neither will it be enough to focus only on what their supporters think they can “sell”. Selling may be a necessary condition for accomplishing goals, but not a sufficient condition. The politics of persuasion is not policy analysis. A program that works will be based on the best available evidence – including the best practices for implementation after a bill becomes law.


The report concludes with the following:

Incentive programs do not accomplish everything their supporters have enthusiastically claimed for them. But what they accomplish can be quite significant…. Today’s incentives produce today’s politics. Changing the incentives could change tomorrow’s.


“New Study: Small Donor Matching Program Would Incentivize Shift in 2016 Presidential Fundraising Strategies”


Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in fundraising success under a proposed small donor public financing system, according to a study released on Thursday by U.S. PIRG Education Fund. Using third quarter fundraising data filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this October, the report examines the impact of a program that matches small contributions with limited public funds for candidates who agree not to accept large donations.

“Right now, most candidates from both parties are dependent on large donors to fund their campaigns, while voters across the political spectrum are calling for reform,” said Dan Smith, Democracy Program Director for U.S. PIRG Education Fund and report author. “It doesn’t have to be that way. A small donor matching program would fundamentally change the way our elections work, giving candidates who engage with regular Americans a chance to compete with fundraising by those who choose to rely on big money.”

U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s study examines the impact of a small donor matching system similar to those proposed in the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20) and the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1538). Both of these bills propose a program that would match small contributions with limited public funds at a rate of six-to-one or more and establish lower maximum contribution limits for participating candidates.


“Ranked-choice voting question certified for November 2016 ballot”

News from Maine:

Maine’s secretary of state has authenticated signatures on a citizen initiative to implement ranked-choice voting in Maine, which means voters will decide whether to implement the system at the polls in November 2016.

More than 70,000 signatures in support of the initiative from registered Maine voters, which have been collected over the past year, were submitted in October. Under the proposal from Ranked Choice Voting Maine, the state would become the first in the nation to fully use a ranked-choice ballot system for its elections.

Ranked-choice voting would allow voters to rank candidates in multi-candidate races in order of preference creating an “instant runoff” when no single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the total vote. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of all votes cast, the candidate with the lowest number of top vote choices is eliminated and an instant runoff takes place between the remaining candidates, counting second place and if necessary third place votes to see which candidate has the highest total number of votes to become the winner.


“Montana Is Latest State to Reform Campaign Finance Rules”


Montana is the latest state to overhaul its campaign-finance rules in an attempt to cast out dark money after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts in elections.

The architect of the changes in Montana said the new rules will create a high level of transparency in the state with a history of election corruption, and will be effective because of Montana’s relatively small population of 1 million people.


“Martin O’Malley Likely To Accept Public Funding, Campaign Says”

Sign of weakness for the O’Malley campaign.

For a successful campaign, the opportunity costs now of opting into public financing given how it restricts spending are just too high:

The last major candidate to adhere to such strict spending limits was John Edwards, the former U.S. senator and vice presidential nominee who opted into the matching program in the fall of 2007.

His campaign manager, Joe Trippi, now likens a publicly financed candidate to a terminally ill person on life support. If O’Malley goes through with his plan to accept matching funds, “that is effectively the end of his campaign,” said Trippi. “No campaign that is serious can win taking that money.”

“It is a brutally tough decision to make,” he said. “They know this — it’s akin to a doctor sitting down a patient and telling them they are terminally ill, informing them that they have days to live and there is nothing that can be done to save them, but there is something that can be done to give them another few months of life.”

And given the choice, “who wouldn’t pick extending the inevitable?” said Trippi.


“Why is Sen. Harry Reid being investigated in Utah?”


A Utah county prosecutor said Wednesday he is investigating U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada in connection with a pay-to-play scheme involving two former Utah attorneys general.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, a Republican, said in a statement that he’s looking into allegations related to the Democratic senator.

Rawlings declined to disclose the allegations and only said the claims are based on information from witnesses in the attorneys general case.

Reid, who hasn’t been charged, fired back at Rawlings in a statement from his spokeswoman Kristen Orthman. She said Rawlings is using “Sen. Reid’s name to generate attention to himself and advance his political career, so every few months he seeks headlines by floating the same unsubstantiated allegations.”:



“Stanislaus County election official not concerned about Measure I complaint”

The Modesto Bee reports:


County Registrar of Voters Lee Lundrigan said Tuesday she disagreed with Jackman. Referring to Elections Code section 9280, Lundrigan said there is no legal requirement to print the text of voter initiatives in the sample ballot.

“In the event the entire text of the measure is not printed on the ballot, nor in the voter information portion of the sample ballot,” the code says, the city can print a phone number and instructions for ordering a copy of the initiative below the impartial analysis.

The impartial analysis for Measure I did not offer a phone number or instructions for obtaining a copy of the initiative. Local officials will wait to see if the state considers that a serious omission.


“Secret donors fuel Democratic political powerhouse”


Democratic Party-aligned “dark money” powerhouse Patriot Majority USA collected half of the $30 million it raised last year from five anonymous donors, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of a new tax filing from the group.

Patriot Majority USA was a major player in the Democrats’ failed bid to retain control of the U.S. Senate last year — a time when many Democratic candidates decried the influx of “dark money” in politics.


“NC voting law opponents plan to file preliminary injunction against photo ID”

Winston Salem-Journal:

The North Carolina NAACP wants a federal judge to stop the photo-ID requirement from taking effect during the March 2016 primary elections.



“Judge dismisses Artur Davis lawsuit against state Democratic Party”

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs has dismissed a lawsuit filed by former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis against the state Democratic Party for keeping Davis off the party’s ballot.

Davis switched to the Republican Party in 2012 but sought to return this year and run for a seat on the Montgomery County Commission in next year’s primary.

The party’s bylaws include what is called the Radney Rule, which prohibits a candidate from running as a Democrat if he did not support the party’s nominees in the last four years.


“Suit accuses Georgia of massive data breach involving 6 million voters”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Two Georgia women have filed a class action lawsuit alleging a massive data breach by Secretary of State Brian Kemp involving the Social Security numbers and other private information of more than six million voters statewide.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court, alleges Kemp’s office released the information including personal identifying information to the media, political parties and other paying subscribers who legally buy voter information from the state.


“Buckley After 40 Years”

Floyd Abrams has passed along his prepared speech given as part of the annual Raymond Pryke First Amendment Lecture at UC Irvine School of Law. I blogged earlier (and linked to video) of the event here.  Floyd’s speech begins:

This week is the 40th anniversary of the oral argument in the Supreme Court of Buckley v. Valeo and next year the 40th anniversary of the decision in that case will be—depending on one’s view of the case– regretted or celebrated.  I’m a celebrant, so welcome to the party!

Buckley was a case that dealt with and addressed a number of difficult topics—limitations on the funding of issue advertisements, potential distinctions between the funding of those ads by making contributions directly to candidates and spending money independently on ads directly advocating the election of individuals, money spent on one’s own behalf—I could go on.  Today, I’m going to focus on the most controversial (or, if you’re of that view, notorious) part of the Buckley case  That is its holding that held unconstitutional under the First Amendment, congressionally dictated limits on independent expenditures seeking to persuade people how to vote in the elections.


“Bill Clinton to Appear for ‘Super PAC’ Backing Hillary Clinton”


Former President Bill Clinton will appear as the main attraction at a meeting on Dec. 1 with prospective donors to Priorities USA Action, the “super PAC” that is supporting his wife’s presidential campaign — the first such event he will do for the group.

Mr. Clinton’s appearance was featured on an invitation describing him as the “special guest” at the event in New York City that will also feature the group’s chief strategist, Guy Cecil.

The appearance is a potential new phase for Priorities, which has been trying to ramp up its fund-raising as a bumper crop of super PACs has sprouted up on the Republican side of the race. Mr. Clinton raised money in 2012 for Priorities when it was supporting President Obama’s re-election effort.


“Republican Candidates Chase Donald Trump’s 12 Minutes on ‘S.N.L.’”


As Donald J. Trump danced to “Hotline Bling,” several of his Republican rivals were preparing a legal dance of their own.

After Mr. Trump hosted “Saturday Night Live” this month, appearing on screen for 12 minutes and 5 seconds, other presidential campaigns were entitled to file for “equal opportunities” on the network.

So, the campaigns of Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Huckabee and George E. Pataki have all sent letters to NBC, requesting the equal time.


“FEC Deadlocks on Bid to Ease Party Rules”

Bloomberg BNA:

The Federal Election Commission deadlocked on a Republican proposal to write new rules easing campaign finance limits on political parties.
The 3-3 FEC vote during a Nov. 17 commission meeting appeared, at least initially, to doom the proposal by Republican Commissioner Lee Goodman to roll back some fundraising restrictions imposed on party committees following the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, known as the McCain-Feingold law.
Goodman’s two fellow Republican commissioners joined him in supporting the proposal, while the three commissioners holding Democratic seats opposed it. The vote derailed his proposal to draft new party rules for public comment.
Immediately after the deadlocked vote, however, Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub moved to advance a combined rulemaking plan to ease party restrictions while strengthening rules for super political action committees. Specifically, Weintraub proposed linking Goodman’s rulemaking plan with a proposal she authored, along with FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel, a Democrat, to clamp down on single-candidate super PACs.
A vote on Weintraub’s motion was delayed until the next scheduled FEC open meeting in December, along with votes on several other agenda items discussed at the Nov. 17 meeting.

“The Koch Intelligence Agency”

Ken Vogel:

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.
The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.
The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.



“Blagojevich asks high court to hear corruption case appeal”

AP reports.  If anyone has the cert. petition please pass it along and I will post.

Update: Here is the cert petition.  Here are the questions presented:

1. Whether, in a case involving solicitation of campaign contributions, Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255 (1992), modified the holding of McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257, 273 (1991), that an “explicit promise or undertaking” by a public official to perform or not to perform an official act is required to prove extortion under color of official right (and by extension bribery and honest services fraud), and, if so, what is the standard for distinguishing lawful attempts to obtain campaign contributions from criminal violations. 2. Whether the lower court, based on confusion about the first question presented, erred in barring a valid good faith defense to the specific intent crimes of extortion under color of official right, bribery and honest services fraud.

If the Court takes the Gov. McDonnell case (and there’s a good chance it does, given its earlier unusual bail ruling), does it hold the Blago case pending that disposition?  That certainly could happen.


“Campaign Legal Center Announces Revised Senior Management Team and Welcomes New Attorneys and Staff”


The Campaign Legal Center is pleased to announce a series of staff promotions and new hires as part of a management restructuring of the organization in response to continuing growth and the conclusion of a strategic planning review.  Lawrence Noble has become General Counsel and Paul S. Ryan and Tara Malloy are now Deputy Executive Directors of the organization.  All three have been lawyers for CLC for several years, but will now formally be part of the Senior Management team.

“These changes to our management structure will make us still more effective as we face the challenges ahead in our field,” said Legal Center President Trevor Potter.  “Since the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United and related decisions as well as a continuing failure of the FEC to do its job due to increased deadlocked votes, our work has expanded rapidly.  We have seen federal, state and local campaign finance laws challenged from coast to coast in the courts and have assisted in defending many of these.  Our reorganization and the influx of new and talented staff will allow us to face these challenges and articulate desirable new reforms even more effectively.”

“We are very fortunate to have the veteran attorneys on staff to allow us to undertake this reorganization and to do so seamlessly as we also welcome talented new lawyers and staffers to the Campaign Legal Center,” said Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert.  “The challenges ahead in the fields of voting rights and campaign finance are significant but we are confident that our growth and reorganization positions us to meet these mounting challenges.”…


“Lawsuit Says Utah Law Violates the First Amendment”

Press release:

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), America’s largest nonprofit working to promote and defend First Amendment rights to free political speech, assembly, and petition, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit to declare unconstitutional a recent Utah law requiring nonprofits that engage in advocacy to report the private information of their supporters to the government. CCP is representing three plaintiffs in the case: the Utah Taxpayers Association, the Utah Taxpayers Legal Foundation, and the Libertas Institute.

The lawsuit challenges Utah House Bill 43, which passed in 2013. Plaintiffs allege the law suffers many of the same defects contained in the Federal Election Campaign Act. That law’s reach was limited by the landmark 1976 Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo.