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Tag: Campaign Finance (page 2 of 7)

NY Loophole Allows Individual’s $4.3 Million in Direct Contributions, Part II

By: Dan Carroll

As detailed in a recent State of Elections post, a misguided 1996 New York State Board of Elections (BOE) decision treating limited liability companies (LLCs) as individual people rather than corporate entities. The decision allows LLCs to directly contribute up to $60,800 to an individual candidate for statewide office while traditional corporate entities are limited to $5,000 in aggregate contributions to all candidates in a year. LLCs need not disclose the identities of their founders, membership or officers, so their political activities are difficult to link to their funders.

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Nebraska: Cattle, Corn, and the Unicam

By: Eleyse D’Andrea

Debate over partisanship has been a major point of contention throughout American history.  Nonpartisanship in the early twentieth century focused on removing party politics from election processes to lessen the power and influence of political machines on citizens’ voting decisions. At the other end of the spectrum, proponents of partisan structure supported the positive role of political parties as a means of mobilizing citizens to participate in the political process, and furthermore lauded party identification on ballots as central to informed voting. In today’s America, partisanship is common and party ballot identification is a central element of many voting models. Nebraska, however, stands alone as the only state to remove party labels from state legislature ballots

Nebraska

Nebraska sample nonpartisan ballot

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Dark Money Influences Wyoming Politics

 

By: Gordon Dobbs

In response to concerns around the country, the Wyoming U.S. Attorney appointed an attorney to monitor complaints of election fraud and voter intimidation on Election Day. This move in Wyoming was largely seen as a precautionary measure. Despite the fact that the state does not require proof of citizenship and allows same-day registration, Wyoming has not endured allegations of election rigging. But as the Republican Secretary of State assured the public that the election would not be rigged in any way, Wyoming dealt with a more substantial concern: the influx of anonymous, out of state money.

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Alaskan Mayor In Trouble

By: Eduardo Lopez

The issue of campaign contribution reform has always been a major topic in American politics, but especially in recent years, with the United States Supreme Court striking down limitations on federal campaign donations. Although the Supreme Court of the United States has made a final decision with regard to federal campaign donation limitations, states still possess the power to implement limitations on contributions on the state level.

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Colorado School Board Recall Election Raises Questions about Campaign Finance Disclosures and the Role of Outside Money

By: Eric Speer

A county school board recall election in Colorado has brought focus once again to the influence of outside “dark money” on local political races. And campaign finance observers say that much of it will never be traced back to its source because of a confluence between IRS reporting regulations and a 2002 amendment to the Colorado constitution.

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West Virginia Moves to Nonpartisan Judicial Elections in 2016

By: Stephanie Wilmes

As of 2013, thirteen states used nonpartisan judicial elections to select their state Supreme Court justice, and eighteen states used nonpartisan elections to select trial court judges at all levels. On March 25, 2015, West Virginia joined their number when Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed HB 2010 into law.

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NY Loophole Allows Individual’s $4.3 Million in Direct Contributions

By: Dan Carroll

Given the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court’s decisions upending federal campaign finance law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the average voter might be surprised to find out that federal law still prohibits corporations from making direct contributions to candidates for federal office and limits the amount individuals can contribute to a particular campaign. On the other hand, twenty-two states allow but limit direct contributions from corporations to candidates for state office.

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Toeing the Line: FEC, DOJ, and Coordination Between Super PACs and Candidates

By Staff Writer:

Five years ago, the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United v. FEC and Speechnow v. FEC led to the creation of Super PACs, or independent expenditure-only political committees. Super PACs differ from candidate or political party committees in that they cannot contribute directly to candidates; they may only engage in independent spending on advertising, voter outreach, and the like. Furthermore, although Super PACs may support a particular candidacy, they are strictly prohibited from “coordinating” with candidate or political party committees. Continue reading

“War Chests” and Political Spending in Massachusetts: Are Unions and Corporations Similarly Situated?

By Allison Davis

In March of 2015, two family-owned companies headquartered in Massachusetts filed suit in state court challenging certain provisions of Massachusetts’ campaign finance laws. The provisions in question prohibit corporations and corporate PACs from contributing to candidates or political party committees, but permit labor unions and their PACs to directly contribute up to $15,000 per calendar year to candidates or parties. According to the plaintiffs’ complaint (filed as 1A Auto, Inc. v. Sullivan), this law represents a “lopsided ban” that stifles First Amendment-protected speech and associational rights for corporations. Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution by granting unions and their PACs a privilege that is forbidden to their corporate counterparts. Continue reading

William & Mary Election Law Society Co-President Published

By William & Mary Election Law Society

We are excited to announce that Allison Davis, one of this year’s co-presidents of the Election Law Society, has been accepted for publication in the William & Mary Business Law Review, Vol. 7 (2016). Davis’s note, “Presupposing Corruption:  Access, Influence, and the Future of the Pay-to-Play Legal Framework” examines the Court’s shifting views on corruption, applies it to various pay-to-play laws currently in effect, and ultimately concludes that the legal and constitutional framework for much of pay-to-play law as it currently stands rests on shaky ground.

See more from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP: http://www.paytoplaylawblog.com/2015/04/articles/first-amendment/pay-to-play-law-blog-makes-the-law-review/

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