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A Welcome Rebuke to Campaign Contribution Discrimination in Illinois

Stephen R. Klein March 28, 2017
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In late 2015, Claire Ball and Scott Schluter, two Libertarian candidates for state offices in Illinois, brought suit against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Board of Elections to challenge a provision of the state’s election law that prohibited medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries from contributing to state candidates. (I served as co-counsel in the case at the Pillar of Law Institute, along with the Liberty Justice Center in Chicago.) [Read More]

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State Court Docket Watch News Clips: 10/13/2015

Campaign Finance Takeaways from the 2016 Election

Luke Wachob January 17, 2017
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2016 was a surprising year in politics. One surprise that hasn’t received much attention yet is the minimal role played by “money in politics” in the presidential election. One of the best-funded candidates in history, Hillary Clinton, lost to an opponent who raised less than half of what she did. Not just that, but independent supporters of Clinton outspent those advocating for Trump nearly 3-to-1.

How did this happen? Part of the explanation is that money’s role in elections is overstated. The list of candidates whose funding advantage failed to translate into votes on Election Day is long, including Eric Cantor, Linda McMahon, David Trone, and many more. Money can’t fool voters into supporting someone they don’t want to support.

But money is certainly an important part of campaigning. Campaign spending helps candidates get their message out and introduce themselves to voters. Money pays for staff, advertising, campaign swag, office space, travel and rallies. [Read More]

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The Resurgence of Campaign Finance Regulation, Trumped?

Steve Klein November 14, 2016
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Last March, during a Federalist Society teleforum discussing the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, as an aside Prof. Richard Epstein summarized the effect a new liberal justice would have on the celebrated (and concurrently derided) Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision from 2010: 

[I]n terms of its practical consequences, a case like Citizens United, which was 5-4 . . . I think that’s absolutely toast, and you will start to see comprehensive regulation of various forms of speech activities by corporations and ordinary individuals and so forth . . . .

[Read More]

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New Book Review: Dark Money and Plutocrats United

Steve Klein May 25, 2016
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Bill Maurer from the Institute for Justice brings years of experience in campaign finance law and free speech to the latest issue of the Federalist Society Reviewreviewing two of the latest books on campaign finance policy, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Rick Hasen’s Plutocrats United. Expertise is thankfully ubiquitous at FedSoc, but Bill’s wit is one of a kind. His review is a must-read, and be sure to set your coffee down first. 

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I Disagree With What You Say, So I Will File a Campaign Finance Complaint

Timothy Courtney April 21, 2016
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Steve Klein writes for Pillar of Law:

Many people are inspired by the supposed principles of campaign finance reform. These principles drewcrowds to various events around the Capitol over the last week, featuring various speeches including one froma commissioner at the Federal Election Commission. These gatherings were bolstered with tweets about democracy awakening along with signs and screeds about corporations not being people.

But up in Massachusetts, as democracy was “awakening” down here in D.C., the very result of campaign finance reform is yet again being used to fatigue—worse, to punish—the citizens who are participating in democratic elections.

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