Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument (virtually) in two "faithless electors" cases, Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca. Presidential electors who wished to vote in 2016 for persons other than Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in both states, were sanctioned by the states, with a $1,000 fine for the Washington electors and removal for the Colorado electors. These cases present interesting constitutional, jurisdictional, and legal policy questions, and the justices seemed to consider them close cases during oral argument. Here are some highlights from arguments presented to the Court by amici, and part II will focus on oral argument and analysis of the case.Read more
FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub is attacking political speech on Twitter again, this time objecting to an op-ed in the Washington Post praising Facebook's decision to allow micro-targeting of political ads. As we have described many times in this blog, not only does Commissioner Weintraub want online political speech to be extensively regulated, apparently she is also opposed to allowing those who disseminate their speech online to do so in a "cost-effective" way:Read more
2019 Republican Lawyer of the Year, former FEC Chair, and RNLA Board of Governors member Lee Goodman appeared on CNBC earlier this week to discuss the unsuccessful effort by the Biden campaign to have Facebook remove a Trump campaign ad it claimed was inaccurate. Mr. Goodman summarized the law applicable to campaign ads:Read more
Former FEC Chair and RNLA Board of Governors member Lee Goodman penned a column in The Hill laying bare the inadequacies of the Honest Ads Act pending in Congress.
Goodman writes that the bill would “severely restrict the First Amendment rights of American citizens and media companies but barely impact foreign meddlers.”
To address the kind of foreign meddling witnessed in 2016, Goodman recommends that Congress amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to apply directly to foreign propagandists like the Internet Research Agency. The law currently applies only to the U.S.-based agents of foreign principals. House Democrats are expected to push a version of the Honest Ads Act when Congress returns next week.Read more
The Department of Justice has zealously investigated President Trump for the myth of "Russian collusion" for over two years. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has stretched federal election laws far beyond their reasonable boundaries to criminalize a payment to an alleged paramour, a personal expense. Chairman Cummings hosted a known liar as his star witness. Chairman Nadler has decided to substitute himself for the FBI, issuing over 80 investigative requests for information about the President. Once he realized, to his chagrin, there was no "Russian collusion" finding forthcoming from Mr. Mueller, Chairman Schiff announced a broadened probe into the President's business affairs.Read more