In Tuesday’s New York Times, Shane Goldmacher reported on the latest tactic by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission to punish more Americans for exercising free speech rights: deadlock enforcement votes, conceal the agency action from the public, and then default the agency in federal court. The Democrat strategy entails concealing from federal courts that the agency has decided matters on the merits in order to mislead federal judges into thinking the agency has failed to act in a timely manner and thereby trick federal judges into authorizing private enforcement lawsuits by liberal activist groups against conservatives.Read more
Earlier today, 9 former FEC Commissioners (including RNLA Board of Governors members Lee Goodman, Matthew Petersen, and Michael Toner) wrote to congressional leadership to express their concerns with Titles IV and VI of Division B of this Congress' version of the "For the People Act" (H.R. 1 and S. 1 respectively). These sections of the nearly 800-page bill dealing with the FEC directly and campaign finance would, as the former Commissioners put it, "complicate the law and hinder grassroots political speech and activism, with little or no benefit to public accountability, transparency, understanding of public policy, or reduction in corruption."Read more
On November 18th, the Senate Rules Committee met to consider the nominations of Shana M. Broussard, Sean J. Cooksey, and Allen Dickerson to the Federal Election Commission. Confirming the nominees is especially important, since the FEC lost a shortly-held quorum earlier this year when Commissioner Caroline Hunter resigned.Read more
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
The Board of Governors of the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) has named Lee Goodman of Virginia the 2019 Republican Lawyer of the Year.
Mr. Goodman was selected in recognition of his outstanding professional accomplishments and years of tireless dedication in service to the Republican Party. He will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, November 13.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