On a March morning in 2002, the ink of President George W. Bush's signature on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill hardly had a chance to dry before the attorneys for the National Rifle Association filed the paperwork for a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.
In fact the NRA's lawyers were so quick on the draw that the group beat the law’s strongest congressional opponent, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to court. Because it filed first, the NRA had earned the naming rights to the high profile case. However, the NRA, which had backed McConnell, himself ...Continue reading
Sunlight Weekly Round-up: Pennsylvania campaign finance reform in jeopardy
A search using our Influence explorer, for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, reveals that between 2003-2010, the governor received a total... View ArticleContinue reading
Kagan central to Clinton campaign finance reform efforts
Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, was an active player in the Clinton Administration's efforts on campaign finance reform, a quick search of her emails--easily searchable and available here, thanks to Sunlight Labs--shows. (Click here to see a list of all emails that crossed her desk mentioning the term.)
Campaign finance reform was one of two ideas she gave to her boss, White House Counsel Abner Mikvah, as a topic that would keep her "amused," and make "good use" of her.
After she started work at the White House in 1995 she wrote in ...
Transparency Reforms on List of President’s Priorities
Copies of the SOTU speech are now circulating and there are several things in it that Sunlight is extremely happy... View ArticleContinue reading
How the Citizens United Case Affects Money & Politics and Transparency As We Know it
The ramifications of today’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC are breathtaking – opening the floodgates of political... View ArticleContinue reading
Fast Start for Soft Money Groups in 2008 Election
Forgive me, but I couldn't help but be startled by the above headline of the latest analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute. I mean, the much lauded campaign finance reform effort of a few years ago - the so-called McCain- Feingold bill was supposed to have banned soft money. In fact all the campaign finance reform groups -- I don't think there was a single exception -- made a devil's bargain. In order to get that much praised ban on soft money, the reform groups agreed to double the limits that individuals could give to campaigns. (Someone has yet to explain to me how allowing the less than one-tenth of one percent who give big money to give even more money was a reform.) McCain still carries the mantel of "reformer" because of his championing the legislation
This was a no brainer to predict even then: soft money is back in a big way.
What to do now? See this.Continue reading
Rethinking Campaign Finance Reform
Last week, Matt Stoller, president of Blog PAC, principal at Open Left, and Sunlight Foundation consultant, gave an interesting speech at the University of Connecticut Law School where he advocates a rethinking of the historic approach to campaign finance law, a system that has not kept pace with the Web 2.0 revolution.
Reformers usually think about changing the campaign finance laws to limit the influence of big money in politics. As we know, the lion's share of the money is spent on TV, radio, and for mass mailings, what Matt terms "spammy media." This, he says, should be regulated. But for the Internet, what Matt calls "social media" because of its infinite possibilities for consumption and participation, he suggests a deregulation scheme. Specifically calling for the establishment of a kind of two-tierd regulatory system that limits the "spam quotient" of modern campaigns and encourages the social context of politics.
Interesting... Check it out.Continue reading