New York – Today’s narrow 5-4 decision in McComish v. Bennett continues the Roberts Court’s retreat on fairness in elections, striking down trigger provisions that allowed publicly financed candidates in Arizona to receive additional funds for their campaigns when their spending was outstripped by their privately financed opponents.
Arguments Heard Today Suggest Precedents Limiting Corporate Political Influence Under ThreatWashington, DC — Today's argument in Citizens United v. FEC suggests that the Roberts Court is poised to sweep aside century-old restraints on corporate domination of the political marketplace — unless the wisdom of the Court's newest member proves persuasive when the decision is ultimately written.
Brenda Wright becomes Director; Tova Wang joins as Senior FellowNew York — Demos is delighted to announce two significant staffing changes in its Democracy Program, which works to strengthen democracy in the United States by reducing barriers to voter participation and encouraging civic engagement.
The Supreme Court today turned back a constitutional challenge to spending limits for student government campaigns at the University of Montana, denying review of a June 2007 ruling by the Ninth Circuit that upheld the limits. The Supreme Court's action is a victory for the Associated Students of the University of Montana ("ASUM") and the University, which argued that the limits on campaign spending serve to assure all students, regardless of their financial circumstances, an equal opportunity to win election to student government.
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Supreme Court today announced its decision in Randall v. Sorrell, a case addressing the constitutionality of Vermont's comprehensive campaign finance law, passed in 1997.
Stuart Comstock-Gay, Executive Director of the National Voting Rights Institute, which defended the law alongside the state of Vermont, had this statement on the decision.
Boston, MA — The National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI) and the State PIRGs Democracy Program released a study today that found there is no support for the notion that campaign contribution limits hurt challengers. In fact, according to the study, contribution limits can work to reduce the financial bias that traditionally works in favor of incumbents.
Boston, MA — A Poll commissioned by the National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI) revealed overwhelming support for election campaign spending limits as a way of improving the fairness, honesty and integrity of elections.
Boston, MA - Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit -- covering Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island -- issued a decision upholding Maine's campaign finance disclosure provisions, which had been challenged by the anti-gay marriage National Organization for Marriage. In response, Lisa Danetz, Demos Senior Counsel, issued the following statement:
The Corporate Reform Coalition – made up of institutional investors managing a combined total of $800 billion in assets, as well as public officials, legal scholars, good government groups and CEOs – will hold a telephone press conference to discuss a petition calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue rules on corporate political spending.
When thinking about campaign finance issues, I always like to step back and think about the following question, which really motivates much of my work: How can we ensure adequate representation in a democracy and, more to the point, how will a particular rule, regulation or decision impact democratic representation?
READ Demos Report: 10 Ways Citizens United Endangers Democracy >>>
D.C. – This Wednesday, February 8th, Demos and U.S. PIRG are holding a press call to release a new and comprehensive analysis of Federal Election Commission data on Super PACs, from their advent in 2010 through the end of 2011. This new report, “Auctioning Democracy: The Rise of Super PACs and the 2012 Election,” details FEC data findings, lays out actionable recommendations for all levels of government, and provides vivid new infographics (for use with attribution) that illustrate the damage dealt by Super PACs.
Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Demos released a new analysis of the funding sources for the campaign finance behemoths, Super PACs. The findings confirmed what many have predicted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Citizens United decision: since their inception in 2010, Super PACs have been primarily funded by a small segment of very wealthy individuals and business interests, with a small but significant amount of funds coming from secret sources.