Federal Court Enjoins Houston Time Limits on Campaign Financing

…election year. You can find the 42-page ruling issuing a preliminary injunction at this link. It distinguishes the Thalheimer case, in which the court upheld a time limit under the City of San Diego’s laws.  (I was one of the lawyers representing the City of San Diego in the litigation). It does not appear that the conflict between the two rulings will be resolved any time soon, as Schleifer reports that the City will not appeal.  …

Continue reading
Share

In Significant Action, Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case to Allow Corporate Contributions Directly to Candidates

…tributions directly to candidates). I successfully defended San Diego’s corporate contribution ban in the Thalheimer case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. All of the other circuit courts reached the same conclusion: that the corporate contribution limit stands under earlier Supreme Court authority.  Danielczyk case the only case to reach a contrary conclusion in the district court, but was reversed by the 4th Circuit to bring it in…

Continue reading
Share

Guess What the Montana GOP Did in the Short Window When the State Had No Contribution Limits?

Missoulian: “The Montana Republican Party donated $500,000 to gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill and approximately $30,000 to attorney general candidate Tim Fox after a judge struck down the state’s campaign contribution limits.” More here. We saw a similar move in the Thalheimer case when San Diego’s limits were temporarily blocked….

Continue reading
Share

Unanimous Ninth Circuit Panel Extends Stay of Montana Campaign Contributions Case Pending Appeal

…y that affects our decision in Eddleman, for three reasons. First, there is no opinion of the Court in Randall. Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, 645 F.3d 1109, 1127 n.5 (9th Cir. 2011) (“[T]he plurality opinion [in Randall] [i]s persuasive authority, though not a binding precedent.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Second, even if we thought that Justice Breyer’s plurality opinion represented the narrowest view of a majority of the Court, it…

Continue reading
Share

8th Circuit Unanimously Rejects Challenge to MN Corporate Contribution Ban; Divides on Disclosure Requirements

…he Second, Fourth (after the rejection of the district court decision in Danielczyk) and Ninth Circuits (in the Thalheimer case in which I was involved) in holding that any challenge to corporate contribution bans in the lower courts is barred by the Supreme Court’s decision in FEC v. Beaumont.  The 8th Circuit does drop a footnote however suggesting that if and when this issue reaches the Supreme Court again, the Court could well overrule…

Continue reading
Share

Very Interesting Vermont Campaign Finance Ruling

…an intriguing decision on refusing to find segregated bank accounts alone (without distinct accounting) sufficient to render an independent-expenditure entity distinct from a related entity making contributions, distinguishing the DC Circuit’s opinion in Emily’s List (and, perhaps, the Thalheimer litigation that Rick is working on in San Diego). The case is Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell (II), No. 2:09-cv-188 (D. Vt.)….

Continue reading
Share

Thalheimer Case Concludes, Creating Good 9th Circuit Precedent

The time to appeal has passed in the litigation over challenges to a number of City of San Diego campaign finance laws. [Disclosure: I am one of the lawyers for the City of San Diego.]  The case went to the Ninth Circuit at the preliminary injunction stage but there was no appeal after the district court decided the cross-motions for summary judgment. Among other things, the Ninth Circuit held at the preliminary injunction stage that a ban on no…

Continue reading
Share

“Down the Rabbit Hole with Citizens United: Are Bans on Corporate Direct Campaign Contributions Still Constitutional?”

…Citizens United, it should overturn the corporate direct contributions ban. Jason was an excellent research assistant of mine.  I did not advise him on this note, however, as the very issue of this note was pending in the Thalheimer litigation from San Diego at the time he worked on it.  (I am one of the attorneys for the City of San Diego in that litigation.)  I very much look forward to reading it, and congratulate him on the publication….

Continue reading
Share

Montana Supreme Court Campaign finance Decision Affront to the “Rule of Law”?

…bution restrictions. Citizens United also does not disturb the validity of the anti-circumvention interest. See Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, Nos. 10-55322, 10-55324, 10-55434, 2011 WL 2400779, at *13 (9th Cir. Jun. 9, 2011) (concluding that ‘nothing in the explicit holdings or broad reasoning’ of Citizens United invalidates the anti-circumvention interest in the context of contribution limits)”) In the end, it will be up to the Supreme Court…

Continue reading
Share

Breaking News: Federal District Court in San Diego Upholds Corporate/Non-Individual Contribution Ban, Strikes Down $1,000 Political Party Contribution Limit

…s (aside from political parties) from contributing money directly to candidates for City office. The opinion in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego is here.[Disclosure: I am one of the attorneys for the City of San Diego.] In addition to upholding the ban on corporate/non-human contributions directly to candidates, the Court also rejected a challenge to San Diego’s $500 individual contribution limit to City candidates, as well as a ban on contr…

Continue reading
Share

“Citizen Bopp”

…ca Novak has written this must-read profile of Jim Bopp for the American Prospect.  Viveca, a former Time correspondent who I got to know during Florida 2000, has recently taken up the position as Editorial and Communications Director for the Center for Responsive Politics. I’ll be going up against Citizen Bopp in federal district court in San Diego Friday in the Thalheimer challenge to the City of San Diego’s campaign finance laws….

Continue reading
Share

Thank You and Happy New Year

…and at a panel on law blogging and argue for the City of San Diego on cross-motions for summary judgment in the Thalheimer campaign finance case). The year ahead will be a busy one for election law, and especially for me beginning in the summer with the publication of The Voting Wars by Yale University Press.  I hope to do a mini-book tour in the fall talking about these issues before Election Day.  Also, save the date of September 14, 2012 for a…

Continue reading
Share

2d Circuit Issues Important Campaign Finance Decision Affirming Constitutionality of NY “Pay to Play” Rules, Ban on Entity Contributions

…bution restrictions. Citizens United also does not disturb the validity of the anti-circumvention interest. See Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, Nos. 10-55322, 10-55324, 10-55434, 2011 WL 2400779, at *13 (9th Cir. Jun. 9, 2011) (concluding that ‘nothing in the explicit holdings or broad reasoning’ of Citizens United invalidates the anti-circumvention interest in the context of contribution limits)”); (3) states that broader form…

Continue reading
Share

Unanimous 4th Circuit Upholds Ban on Lobbyist Campaign Contributions; Big Implications for Pending Corporate Contributions Case

…ision stands (that is, is not taken en banc or heard by the Supreme Court now given the Circuit split), it would provide a strong basis for upholding the corporate contribution ban in the Danielczyk case.  (Disclosure: I am one of the lawyers representing the City of San Diego in the Thalheimer case, cited in Preston, considering the constitutionality of the City’s ban on corporate and other non-human entity contributions to candidates.)…

Continue reading
Share

New Bopp Attack: Montana

…of these laws. Their documents are available on the James Madison Center website by clicking here: http://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org/cases/09-07-2011/688/. It would seem to m that the attack on a ban on contributions to corporations would be tough given the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling in the Thalheimer case.  [Disclosure: I am one of the lawyers for San Diego in that case.]…

Continue reading
Share

Thalheimer Plaintiffs Will Not Petition for Cert. in San Diego Campaign Finance Case

In Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, the Ninth Circuit upheld the trial court’s denial of a preliminary injunction of the City’s law barring non-human contributions to candidates (the same issue as in the Danielczyk case in the 4th Circuit and the Swanson case in the 8th circuit).  The court also denied a preliminary injunction as to time limitations for candidates raising campaign contributions.  The Ninth Circuit also denied reheari…

Continue reading
Share

Breaking News: Rehearing En Banc Denied in Ninth Circuit San Diego Thalheimer Case

Big news from the Ninth Circuit.  The full court has denied rehearing en banc in this campaign finance case.  According to the order, no active judge on the court requested a vote in the case.  Among other things, the panel opinion held that a ban on non-human (e.g, corporate or union) direct contributions to candidates does not violate the First Amendment.  The court also held that a temporal limitation on campaign contributions (no contributio…

Continue reading
Share

Breaking News: Eighth Circuit Upholds Minnesota Ban on Direct Corporate Contributions to Candidates, Minnesota Corporate IE Disclosure Rules

…n ban). The court split 2-1 on Minnesota’s rules governing corporate independent expenditures, and whether the rules run afoul of Citizens United. I was very happy to see this opinion, as I have the same issue pending in the Ninth Circuit in the Thalheimer case, where I am one of the attorneys defending the City of San Diego’s campaign contribution laws. The Thalheimer case was argued in the Ninth Circuit at the beginning of October….

Continue reading
Share

“Lincoln Club Challenges San Diego’s Laws Restricting Contributions, Expenditures”

That’s the lead press release at the moment at the James Madison Center. Note that this is a suit against the county of San Diego. Jim Bopp and I are on opposite sides of a lawsuit raising similar issues involving the city of San Diego. That case, the Thalheimer case, is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit….

Continue reading
Share

State of Washington Beats Jim Bopp Twice in One Day

…#8217;s law limiting contributions to independent expenditure committees, and she’s one of the judges on the Ninth Circuit panel deciding the Thalheimer challenge to the San Diego campaign finance law—Jim and I argued on opposite sides of that case last week. Coincidentally, Judge Fletcher, who is also on the Thalheimer panel, was one of the judges on the Ninth Circuit granting Washington’s stay request in the Family PAC case.)…

Continue reading
Share

“Unions, corporations can pool money for political action committees, under latest decision”

Michigan has apparently entered into a consent decree permitting corporate contributions to independent expenditure committees, converting this preliminary injunction into a permanent one. This comes on the heels of Thalheimer v. City of San Diego and the FEC’s Commonsense 10 Advisory Opinion, confronting the same issue at the city and federal level, respectively….

Continue reading
Share

Ninth Circuit Schedules Oral Argument in San Diego Campaign Finance Case

The San Diego campaign finance case, Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, will be heard by the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena on October 4. I plan to argue on behalf of the City of San Diego. One of the questions posed in the case is the constitutionality of San Diego law barring corporations, unions, and other non-human entities from contributing directly to candidates for City office. Also at issue is whether political parties have a constitutional rig…

Continue reading
Share

First Plaintiffs’ Appellate Brief in San Diego Contributions Case

Following up on this post, I have posted at this link the Plaintiffs’ first brief in the San Diego Thalheimer case. (Jim Bopp is the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs). Among other arguments, the plaintiffs argue that corporations and other non-individual entities have a constitutional right to make campaign contributions directly to candidates. [Disclosure: I am co-counsel for the City of San Diego in this matter.]…

Continue reading
Share

San Diego’s Opening 9th Circuit Brief in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego

Today co-counsel and I filed this brief in the 9th Circuit, arguing against a district court order (1) preliminarily enjoining the City’s law barring individual (>$500) and non-individual (i.e., corporate, union, etc.) contributions to independent expenditure committees and (2) preliminarily enjoining, as to political parties, a ban on organizational direct contributions to candidates. Plaintiffs have cross-appealed, so there will be addit…

Continue reading
Share

Jim Bopp to Be Booted Again in Supreme Court Election Case?

…preme Court challenge.” Jim is not a friend of mine; indeed we are on the opposite sides of the San Diego/Thalheimer case right now. But here what I wrote when Bopp was replaced by Olson in the Citizens United case: “The Citizens United case was Bopp’s brain child, one of the suits he devised to push the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in a further deregulatory direction. This is a curious choice for Citizens United. In any…

Continue reading
Share

City of San Diego Seeks Stay, Appeals Portion of Thalheimer Campaign Finance Case

I’ve been reporting on the preliminary injunction decision (and clarification of decision) in the Thalheimer v. City of San Diego campaign finance case. (I am co-counsel for the City in this case.) As I noted, the Court issued a split decision on Plaintiffs’ challenges. The City has now appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from parts of the adverse portions of these orders. In particular, the City is a…

Continue reading
Share