State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: FEC

Wisconsin Senate Passes Campaign Finance, Election Board Overhauls

By Dan Sinclair

In a lengthy session stretching from last Friday night to the early hours of Saturday morning, the Wisconsin Senate voted to approve a pair of bills making significant changes to the state’s campaign finance laws and election oversight. The latter provision entailed an official plan to replace Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB), a nonpartisan elections and ethics board. Republican legislators had made both issues a priority in recent months, with last weekend’s vote coming less than a month after legislators held a hearing to propose sweeping changes.

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Free Speech: Wyoming organization attacks vague FEC regulations

by Kathleen Imbriglia

The First Amendment  guarantees freedom of speech and is a hallmark of the United States Constitution. It is one Americans deeply revere and protect, attacking those attempting to abridge this right. The Federal Election Commission has been aggressively defending its regulations and case-by-case analysis determination of which groups must register as Political Action Committees (PACs). In a recent case, Free Speech v. Federal Election Committee, decided on October 3, 2012, Federal District Court of Wyoming Judge Scott Skavdahl upheld the Federal Election Committee’s regulations concerning disclosure and registration as a Political Action Committee (PAC). In denying the Wyoming-based organization, Free Speech, a preliminary injunction to continue running their advertisements, Judge Skavdahl upholds precedent regarding the validity of the Commission’s regulations, finding the definition of 11 C.F.R. § 100.22(b) is not overly vague or uncertain. Continue reading

Mr. Colbert: or, How states might learn to love campaign finance reform

Its opponents deride its existence as a farce upon campaign finance law.  Its supporters suggest that it is the only way to set the system straight.  News of it has reached the public’s consciousness, rarified air for anything in the field of campaign finance. And we’re not even talking about Citizens United.

The Federal Election Commission’s recent decision permitting comedian Stephen Colbert to form his own Super PAC has successfully turned the media’s (and to a certain extent, the public’s) attention to the post-Citizens United world of political donations. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up

Virginia governor Robert McDonnell is outpacing his Democratic predecessors in restoring voting rights to felons. McDonnell, known as a law-and-order attorney general, has approved 780 of 889 applications — approximately 88 percent of applications — since taking office in January. His predecessors, Democrats Timothy Kaine and Mark Warner, restored the rights of 4,402 and 3,486 felons, respectively. McDonnell revamped the process for restoring voting rights to felons, reducing the wait time for nonviolent felons to two years, allowing applicants to submit documents online, and self-imposing a deadline of 60 days after the application is complete to make a decision. Even as this process continues, however, 300,000 people in Virginia remain disenfranchised.

Rahm Emanuel may be out of a job. The same day that the White House announced he was leaving his post as Chief of Staff to run for mayor of Chicago, attorney Burt Odelson pointed out a 1871 law requiring candidates to live in their jurisdiction for the year before the election. Since Emanuel leased out his house in Chicago while he was working in DC, this may block him from running for Mayor.
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