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Democrats Benefit Big from Court Defeat of Campaign Reform
Washington Post ^ | May 04, 2003 | Jim Vandehei and Dan Balz

Posted on 05/04/2003 12:22:37 AM PDT by Psalm118


The Presidential Sweepstakes

The race to challenge President Bush is on as Democrats begin lining up. Get full candidate profiles here.

By Jim VandeHei and Dan Balz Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, May 4, 2003; Page A04

If the new federal court ruling on campaign finance laws stands, corporations, union leaders and wealthy Americans will pour millions of dollars back into a political system that could look and operate much as it did before Congress "reformed" it with great fanfare a year ago, according to election law experts and political operatives from both parties.

A special three-judge panel on Friday rejected, as unconstitutional, a new ban on unlimited contributions -- known as soft money -- to national political parties. The panel did, however, prohibit political parties and outside groups from spending such money on commercials that appear to advocate a candidate's election or defeat.

The net result: Soft money could soon be back with a vengeance, even if it is used for purposes other than attack ads -- unless the Supreme Court rules differently when it reviews the case later this year.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cfr; cfrlist; constitution; elections; government; mccainfeingold; silenceamerica
Well placed friend's is very nice.
1 posted on 05/04/2003 12:22:38 AM PDT by Psalm118
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To: Psalm118
but will democrat donnors really want to give so generously to a percieved waste? Will hollywood donate? Who wants to be the next dixie chix? Campaign donations are not secret.
2 posted on 05/04/2003 12:28:50 AM PDT by longtermmemmory
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To: longtermmemmory
The Rats are toast, badly burned.
3 posted on 05/04/2003 12:36:49 AM PDT by bybybill (first the public employees, next the fish and, finally, the children)
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To: longtermmemmory
The big DNC donors are tapped out.

The Rubin Bubble and the defeat in 2002 kinda, like, you know, sorta depressed them.

And their big tamale in South Florida, Jerome Berlin, took two bullets into his chest this last week from his partner.

Daschle was kind enough to carry Jerome to his final resting place yesterday.
4 posted on 05/04/2003 12:45:03 AM PDT by DPB101
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To: Psalm118
It's not the lack of money that's hurting democrats, it's the lack of ideas.
5 posted on 05/04/2003 2:49:33 AM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (The democRATS are near the tipping point.)
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To: *CFR List; *Silence, America!
6 posted on 05/04/2003 3:37:23 AM PDT by Free the USA (Stooge for the Rich)
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To: Psalm118
A special three-judge panel on Friday rejected, as unconstitutional

McClame will be back on the Sunday shows barking about how his law really was constitutional but only he understands the Constitution...

7 posted on 05/04/2003 3:41:46 AM PDT by doosee
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To: doosee; *Silence, America!
Contrary to early press reports, Friday's decision in McConnell v. FEC is not a big victory for free speech. It strikes down parts of the McCain-Feingold bill, but leaves other parts - including some of the most offensive - intact, and leaves the law more restrictive than it was before McCain-Feingold passed. Of course, the Supreme Court will have the final say, but I have been warning here for a year that those who think the courts will toss this law in the dumpster have been whistling pasat the graveyard.

Here are the basic contours of the 3 judge panel's ruling. First, the decisions striking parts of the law are, in most cases, 2-1. Second, the two judges usually in the majority, Henderson and Leon, do not usually agree on the reasons why. Henderson relies on the First Amendment, but Leon generally relies on principles of federalism. So the court does not speak with a clear voice, meaning its decision will get less weight with the Supreme Court.

On to specifics. Let's start with the odious 30/60 day ban on ads, or what are called "electioneering communications" in the bill. Yes, this was struck down. But the court then upheld the "back-up" definition included in the law, and in most ways this is worse than the 30/60 day ban. While it does not automatically apply to any ad that even mentions a candidate, it applies to any ad that "promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes" a candidate. Well, argubly that's almost any ad that names a candidate, isn't it? "Bush's tax cut is a great idea, but Senator Snowe doesn't think so. Call her, and tell her we need the full Bush tax cut." That would probably be considered an ad that opposes or attacks Snowe, especially since - to make it worse - the Court struck from the that back-up definition a requirement that the ad "be suggestive of no other meaning." So now instead of having a complete ban on issue ads for 90 days every two years, we have a perpetual ban on any ads that "promote, support, attack, or oppose" a candidate. This is worse, I think, than the 30/60 day ban.

Secondly, by defining "electioneering communications" so broadly, the Court's decision means that a lot more ads will violate the law's limits on coordinated activity. Before yesterday's ruling, coordinated activity between a candidate and citizens' group was only limited if it "expressly advocated the election or defeat" of a candidate, or was an "electioneering communication," meaning it met the 30/60 day ban definition. But now coordinated activity will be limited year round if it meets the broader "promotes, supports, attacks or opposes" test discussed above.

Third, the Court upheld a whole raft of new disclosure provisions. Your ability to speak anonymously has been radically curtailed in a way never before upheld under the Constitution.

The political parties did OK - the court struck down most of the ban on their taking soft money. But even there, the court did hold that soft money to party's can be limited if used to run ads mentioning a candidate.

On top of all this, the court could not agree on a statement of facts. This is important because findings of fact get more deference from the Supreme Court than findings of law. So even though striking down parts of the law, there are no strong "findings of fact" that would set up the Supreme Court to uphold their decision.

There are good things. The court unanimously struck down the ban on contributions by minors. It did strike down most of the ban on soft money for parties. But non-party groups - the NRA, Right to Life, Club for Growth, etc. - and ordinary citizens (except for minors) got hammered. We didn't get a good statement of facts for the Supreme Court. We got blitzed on the 30/60 day ban, as the Court upheld an even worse rule. We lost rights to speak anonymously. And all this comes about because the GW Bush appointee (Leon) sided again and again with McCain-Feingold.

Over-all, I would consider this battle a draw. But given the high hopes going in, it's a defeat.

8 posted on 05/04/2003 6:03:26 AM PDT by Rensselaer
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To: Psalm118
Democrats WILL benefit big from this court decision.
Money WILL pour in from unions. And that is a good
thing for Republicans. Bush is going to win no matter
how much money dems get. National security votes cannot
be bought. The net effect is a waste by dem donors of
larger amounts of money than would have been possible
before. And that's good for Republicans.
9 posted on 05/04/2003 2:58:51 PM PDT by gcruse (Piety is only skin deep, but hypocrisy goes clear to the soul.)
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To: Rensselaer
Your post is the best info I have read so far on the ruling. Got any more?
10 posted on 05/06/2003 12:47:01 PM PDT by Lysander (My army can kill your army)
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