L.A.’s Experience Shows the Importance of the Ban on Direct Corporate Contributions to Candidates

…The LAT has a great story, Follow the Money: It’s Not So Easy.  It talks about the difficulty of preventing corruption, providing information to voters, and enforcing the individual contribution limits when entities are also allowed to directly contribute to candidates. It compares L.A.’s experience to San Diego’s, which has such limits (limits which I successfully helped to defend in the Thalheimer litigation)….

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Federal Court Enjoins Houston Time Limits on Campaign Financing

…uston’s fundraising blackout rule which prevents city candidates from raising money before Feb. 1 of an 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…

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

…individual contribution limits (after all, an individual could set up a large number of corporations to make contributions 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…

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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….

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

…work of the Supreme Court’s decision in Randall does not alter the analysis of Buckley or Shrink Missouri in a way 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…

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

The Eighth Circuit has issued its en banc opinion in the Swanson case.  The Eighth Circuit now joins the 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…

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Very Interesting Vermont Campaign Finance Ruling

…n on “major purpose” as a limit on regulating PACs, at odds with the Fourth and Tenth Circuits.  And 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…

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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…

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

…which still supports the corporate direct contributions ban, thus calling into question the continuing validity of the direct contributions ban. This Note argues that if the Court follows the logical path that it laid down in 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…

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

…eed, Citizens United confirms that the anti-corruption interest is a legitimate justification for campaign contribution 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…

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

…ad upheld the City of San Diego’s laws banning corporations, labor unions, and other non-individual entities (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…

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“Citizen Bopp”

…Viveca 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…

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Thank You and Happy New Year

…me after New Year’s Day (and will be light the first week of January as I speak at AALS on Internet voting 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…

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

…one’s protected expression indicate the intensity of one’s political beliefs. These values, moreover, have not gone unrecognized in underlying First Amendment jurisprudence. [Disclosure: I am litigating similar issues in the Thalheimer case (quoted by the 2d Circuit above) against the same lawyers representing the challengers in this litigation.  The Thalheimer case is back before the federal district court on cross-motions for summary…

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

…ase and the district court’s decision in Preston in my forthcoming lobbying paper in the Stanford Law Review.) Assuming this decision 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…

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New Bopp Attack: Montana

….”  The plaintiffs will also ask the court to preliminarily enjoin enforcement 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…

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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…

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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…

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

…corporate contributions. (One of the three judges wrote separately to question whether the Supreme Court ultimately might overrule its Beaumont case upholding the corporate contribution 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

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“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….

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State of Washington Beats Jim Bopp Twice in One Day

…She’s also the author of the Long Beach case striking down Long Beach’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…

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“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….

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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…

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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.]…

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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…

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

…reports that “if the RNC loses [before the three judge court], it will ask Olson to represent them in a Supreme 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…

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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…

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