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Campaign Finance

Political Contribution Limits, Labor Unions, and Businesses - Podcast

Litigation and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
James Manley March 26, 2015

The laws of six states prohibit businesses—but not unions or other groups—from contributing to political parties, committees, or candidates. On February 24, 2015, the Goldwater Institute filed suit on behalf of two family-owned Massachusetts businesses to challenge Massachusetts’ political contribution ban. Since 1908, businesses have faced a total contribution ban, but special rules implemented in 1988 allow unions to contribute as much as $15,000 before any disclosure requirements or other contribution limits apply to the union. After unions have donated $15,000 to campaigns, their PACs can continue to contribute up to the ordinary limits. Meanwhile, business-funded PACs are banned from contributing. Does the Massachusetts law violate state and federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection, free speech, and free association?

  • Jim Manley, Senior Attorney, Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, The Goldwater Institute

Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 2-5-15 featuring Erik Jaffe and Ed Whelan
Erik S. Jaffe, M. Edward Whelan III February 05, 2015

On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. This case asks whether a rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.

To discuss the case, we have Ed Whelan who is the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Erik Jaffe, who is a sole practitioner at Erik S. Jaffe, PC.

Judicial Campaign Fundraising and the Supreme Court: Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Erik S. Jaffe, M. Edward Whelan III January 22, 2015

On Tuesday, January 20, the Supreme Court heard argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, a First Amendment case involving the manner in which elected judges may raise campaign funds for themselves. The issue is whether a widely adopted provision of the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, which prohibits judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign funds, violates the First Amendment. Personal solicitation of campaign funds raises concerns that prospective or sitting judges might favor or disfavor litigants and attorneys based on how they responded to such solicitation. On the other side of the issue, once States have decided to elect judges, free political speech becomes a critical component of any fair and democratic election process. In addition to broader arguments regarding the proper scope and function of the First Amendment in the context of judicial elections, this case will involve more focused First Amendment questions regarding whether the current rule, as adopted in Florida, is actually effective in preserving the existence or appearance of impartiality and whether there are less restrictive means – such as recusal – to further such goals.

  • Erik S. Jaffe, Sole Practitioner, Erik S. Jaffe, PC
  • M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center

The Story of Shaun McCutcheon's Campaign Finance Case in the High Court - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Shaun McCutcheon May 16, 2014

Outsider Inside the Supreme Court: A Decisive First Amendment Battle

“There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” said the U.S. Supreme Court in striking down the federal biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees. In his new book, Outsider Inside the Supreme Court: A Decisive First Amendment Battle, plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon explains how he sought to achieve positive change in the political process in bringing his lawsuit. On our Teleforum, Mr. McCutcheon described his road to the nation's highest court, and his quest to bring needed change to Washington by giving more candidates an opportunity to compete in the political arena and offer expanded ideas in the public marketplace.

Featuring:

  • Shaun McCutcheon, owner and Chief Executive Officer, Coalmont Electrical Development Company and Author, Outsider Inside the Supreme Court: A Decisive First Amendment Battle

The First Amendment and Campaign Finance: Assessing the Recently-Decided McCutcheon v. FEC Case - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Bradley A. Smith April 09, 2014

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Stating that “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” on April 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees. News coverage of the decision explains that it effects only a small handful of donors, but characterizes it as important nevertheless. How sweeping is the decision, and how important might it prove to be in coming elections? Is the Court now positioned to continue to favor the First Amendment over the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Bradley A. Smith, 2013-14 Judge John T. Copenhaver Visiting Endowed Chair of Law, West Virginia University College of Law and Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law, Capital University Law School and former Chairman, Federal Election Commission

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