Category: The Supreme Court

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Packingham, Free Speech and Campaign Finance

At first blush, the Supreme Court’s decision in Packingham v. North Carolina seems quite relevant to campaign finance. Echoing its 1997 decision in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, the Court said: “Social media offers relatively unlimited, low-cost capacity for communication of all kinds.” That observation suggests a tension between Internet use, and the Court’s … Continue Reading

In Independence Institute, a Pro-Disclosure Decision—But With No Disclosure to Follow

It was hardly surprising that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in Independence Institute v. FEC, would reject a challenge to McCain-Feingold’s disclosure requirements for “electioneering communications.” These are television or radio ads, sponsored by unregistered groups, that refer to candidates before the voters during the thirty or sixty days before the … Continue Reading

Harvard Law Review Publishes Article on McCutcheon by Political Law Group Attorneys

The Harvard Law Review today published an article by Jonathan Berkon, an associate in the Perkins Coie Political Law Group, and Marc Elias, partner and chair. Entitled After McCutcheon, the article examines the legal and practical ramifications of the April Supreme Court decision that struck down the limit on the total amount an individual may … Continue Reading

McCutcheon v. FEC, Part II: The Chief Justice on Earmarking

The Federal Election Commission’s anti-earmarking restrictions provided much of the rhetorical defense for Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC.  Like this blog did in October, the Chief Justice argued that donors could not evade the contribution limits as easily as Justice Breyer said in oral argument.  But the Chief Justice went very far … Continue Reading

McCutcheon v. FEC, Part I: The Basic Facts

Over the coming days, we will examine closely some of the different issues and implications raised by the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC.  Right now, however, we will focus on what the Court actually did: The Court struck down the caps on the total, combined amounts that any one individual may give to … Continue Reading

FEC Crossroads Deadlock, Ohio False Advertising Case Raise IRS, FCC Issues

Friday saw two big developments in the field of election law: the Federal Election Commission’s release of dueling statements of reasons over whether Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies might be a federal political committee, and the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a challenge to Ohio’s ban on false statements in political campaigns.  Each, obviously, involves the tension between regulation and … Continue Reading

Are the Campaign Finance Laws Too Complicated For the Supreme Court?

Among the clearest conclusions to be drawn from the oral argument in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is that the Court does not fully understand how current law affects the circumvention of contribution limits.  Justice Breyer opened the argument with the hypothetical case of Candidate Smith, whose forty supporters each open a PAC.  No longer … Continue Reading

High Court Ruling Spells Trouble for 501(c)(3) Restrictions

Yesterday, the Supreme Court released its opinion in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.  The Court’s opinion in AID v. Alliance spells trouble for the Internal Revenue Service’s longstanding position that a section 501(c)(3) organization is not merely barred from using tax-deductible funds to engage in campaign intervention, but must not … Continue Reading