“Navigating Election and Political Law: Leading Lawyers on Understanding Campaign Finance, Speech, Voting Rights, and the Laws that Govern (Inside the Minds)”

Looks like an interesting new book for election law practitioners with some top notch contributors: Navigating Election and Political Law provides an authoritative, insider’s perspective on the dynamics of the federal and state laws governing political contributions and spending, and how these laws are impacting practitioners and their clients. Written by partners from some of the nation’s leading law firms, this book guides the read…

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Collins & Skover, When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Decision, Campaign Finance Laws, and the First Amendment

…d David Skover, two law professors with expertise on the First Amendment, have written When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Decision, Campaign Finance Laws, and the First Amendment. They wrote the book while the McCutcheon Supreme Court case was pending, and finished the final chapters within a few days after the decision in the case. The book describes the course of the McCutcheon litigation, and along the way weaves in a discussion of the First Am…

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“Independent Spending in State Elections: Vertically Networked Political Parties Were the Real Story, Not Business”

Campaign Finance Institute: There has been a marked increase of debate in the months since the Supreme Court’s April 2014 decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission over the relationship between interest group spending and the power of political parties. A just-published article in THE FORUM: A JOURNAL OF APPLIED RESEARCH IN CONTEMPORARY POLITICS speaks directly to some of the assumptions underlying that debate. The article – entitled…

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“The Democracy We Left Behind in Greece and McCutcheon”

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy has posted this draft on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court used to regularly police the line between political and economic spheres and the line between Church and State. The Court in 2014 abandoned both posts. As evidenced by McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court is not protecting democracy from creeping oligarchy served up one campaign contribution at a time. As evidenced by Town of Greece v. Galloway, t…

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“GOP Launches Big Money Effort”

Byron Tau for Politico: Republicans are launching a fundraising effort that will let donors cut six-figure checks to support GOP Senate candidates this fall — a move that capitalizes on the Supreme Court’s landmark McCutcheon v. FEC decision. Senate Republicans have filed paperwork to form the Targeted State Victory Committee — a joint fundraising effort between the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican state parties in 13 Sena…

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Now Available: 2014 Supplement to Lowenstein, Hasen, & Tokaji: Election Law Cases and Materials

[UPDATE: The 2014 Supplement is now available for purchase at Amazon. Professors who adopt the Lowenstein/Hasen/Tokaji casebook for their course can receive a complimentary copy of the  supplement for themselves and their students by emailing their request to crutan (at) cap-press (dot) com.] The 2014 Supplement to the 5th edition of Election Law–Cases and Materials  is up-to-date through the end of the Supreme Court’s October 2013 t…

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“The CEO and the Hydraulics of Campaign Finance Deregulation”

Sarah Haan has written this essay for the Northwestern University Law Review Online. Here is the abstract: In The CEO and the Hydraulics of Campaign Finance Deregulation, Professor Sarah Haan assesses what the Supreme Court’s evolving campaign finance jurisprudence could mean both for business executives–who continue to be among the most active campaign contributors–and for politically-motivated consumers. Professor Haan argue…

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“It Could Have Been Worse” is Not Saying Much About McCutcheon

David Cole’s piece on the ending Supreme Court term says it could have been worse in McCutcheon (and in many other cases on the Court’s docket this term).  For example, Cole notes, the Court could have adopted strict scrutiny to apply to contribution limits.  Nonetheless, as I showed at Slate, Reuters, and the Daily Journal right after the opinion came out, McCutcheon was pretty darn bad. I rate it also as one of the most significant…

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Seven Key Points on the Supreme Court Term

(via Twitter) 1. Supreme Court mostly unanimous on issues people care less about or where they want to punt. 2. On highly ideological issues, Court still divided 5-4, with Kennedy usually as swing Justice. 3. Just because this term did not feature many blockbuster decisions doesn’t mean Court less divided. 4. Biggest civil case:McCutcheon campaign finance case-down slope to more $ in politics http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics…

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#SCOTUS Underlines that Level of Scrutiny is Up for Grabs in Campaign Contribution Cases

…me, without deciding, that a law is subject to a less stringent level of scrutiny, aswe did earlier this Term in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 572 U. S. ___, ___ (2014) (plurality opinion) (slip op., at 10). But the distinction between that case and this one seems clear: Applying any standard of review other than intermediate scrutiny in McCutcheon—the standard that was assumed to apply—would have required overruling a precedent. The…

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Whoa: Judge Posner Attacks Chief Justice Roberts Truthfulness in Campaign Finance Case

While I agree with the sentiment (as anyone who has read my writings on the Chief Justice’s views in the campaign finance and voting rights areas, and in fact I’ve made this exact same attack on the Chief Justice at SCOTUSBlog), I am a bit concerned about a sitting federal appellate judge attacking the Chief Justice like this. It diminishes the judiciary to have judges sniping at each other in public. Does Chief Justice John Roberts…

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About that #SCOTUS Unanimity…A Skeptical Note

Today’s unanimous opinion in the cell phone cases is the latest in an unusual term of unanimity on the Supreme Court. I don’t want to downplay things, but I think the unanimity is likely an aberration. To begin with, the Court is still divided on big issues like campaign finance. Witness the bitter divisions in McCutcheon this term.  Or Shelby County on voting rights last term. And it is still quite divided on abortion and same sex m…

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A New Era for Pay-to-Play

The following is a guest blog post by Jason Abel: Last Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a settlement involving Rule 206(4)-5, otherwise known as the “pay-to-play” rule for investment advisers.  This settlement is the first of its kind, for the moment.  However, it may mark the start of increased enforcement of pay-to-play rules. As 2014 is upon us and we move toward 2016, the weakening of traditional cam…

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“Commentaries: The Impact of McCutcheon v. FEC”

Over at the Harvard Law Review Forum: Commentaries: The Impact of McCutcheon v. FEC Three leading election-law practitioners discuss the practical import of the Court’s latest campaign-finance decision After McCutcheon The decision will likely help the political parties regain some power By Jonathan S. Berkon & Marc E. Elias Read More The Practical Consequences of McCutcheon The decision leaves our campaign finance system largely…

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Robert Post’s “Citizens Divided” Book

There are a spate of campaign finance books coming out over the next few months—including books by Robert Post, Bob Mutch, Ken Vogel, Zephyr Teachout, and Timothy Kuhner.  I will try to write short reflections on each of these books as I read them.  These will be very short, as I’m in the midst of my own manuscript on campaign finance, which will allow deeper exploration of these books as necessary for my argument. Today a few words…

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“The Irresponsible Actions of a New Government Ethics Group”

City Ethics blog: Government ethics groups come in all shapes and sizes. City Ethics, an ordinary nonprofit, has a website with huge amounts of information about government ethics, and no financial resources. The American Dream Initiative, a social welfare organization founded last year, apparently has large financial resources, but no website and no information about government ethics. I say “apparently” because, according to an art…

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Another Walk for Campaign Finance Reform: This One with #SCOTUS Disrupter in Scorching California

Press release via email: Californians Begin 480-Mile March for Democracy from L.A. To Sacramento Marchers demand “one person, one vote” political equality, an end to Big money corruption in politics Los Angeles, CA – On May 17th, dozens of activists led by the grassroots organization 99Rise will depart Los Angeles City Hall to embark on a 480-mile “March for Democracy” across the state of California to raise awareness and mobilize…

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“Federal court strikes down state rule on political issue ads”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: A federal appeals court has struck down state rules regulating campaign-style issue ads, but the practical impact of the decision is blunted because the rules had already been sidelined by another lawsuit 3 1/2 years ago. Wednesday’s decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago likely ends a legal battle that has played out in state and federal court since 2010. It began when the state Government…

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After McCutcheon, New RNC Challenge to Soft Money Rules

On the day the Supreme Court decided McCutcheon, I wrote in Slate: Third and most dramatically, the court seems to open the door for a future challenge to what remains of the McCain-Feingold law: the ban on large, “soft money” contributions collected by political parties. These contributions were banned because it had become clear that political parties were becoming conduits for access between elected officials and big donors. Today Roberts rej…

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Just a Quick Thought on the John Doe Case and Its Troubling Implications for Campaign Finance Law

Yesterday I linked to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about a new federal court decision.  As the article described it, “a federal judge ordered a halt Tuesday to the John Doe investigation into campaign spending and fundraising by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups, saying the effort appeared to violate one of the group’s free speech rights.” I am crashing under a number of impending deadlines, which will i…

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“Prosecutors say McDonnell fixated on justice’s remark”

Times Dispatch: Federal prosecutors say former Gov. Bob McDonnell is putting too much stock in Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s declaration that “ingratiation and access … are not corruption.” Kennedy made the statement in his 2010 Citizens United ruling. In that campaign finance case, the court ruled that the government cannot stop corporations and unions from spending money to back or denounce candidates. Chief Justice John G. Ro…

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