Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeal filed by the Independent Institute challenging the disclosure requirements imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“BCRA”) as applied to genuine issue ads.  BCRA compels the disclosure of donors to such ads over $1,000, with substantial civil and criminal penalties for failure to report this information publicly. Read More

FEC Conciliation Agreement Modified

Michael Harless Election Law

We were pleased to have persuaded the FEC to act unanimously to modify a Conciliation Agreement entered into in 2005.  The reason was that the state of election law had changed, based on recent court rulings, which then were followed by changes in Commission regulations. Read More

Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission

Michael Harless Election Law, U. S. District Court, District of Columbia

Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in support of The Independence Institute, in its challenge to certain federal election law and Federal Election Commission regulations governing electioneering communications.  Under these regulations, Section 501(c)(3) organizations must report on their broadcast issue ads which mention the name of incumbent Congressmen.  The required reports include certain information on donors to the nonprofit organizations.  Our brief explains why these laws and regulations violate First Amendment principles of anonymity long recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Independence Institute v. FEC — Amicus Brief

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today we filed an amicus brief in support of the Independence Institute in their challenge to the Federal Election Commission’s regulations requiring the names and addresses of donors to nonprofits doing issue ads, which technically meet the criteria of Independent Expenditures, to be disclosed. Our brief explains the motivation of Congress for wanting this information.

Jeremiah Morgan Testifies Before the Federal Election Commission

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Appearances, Election Law

Today, on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, Inc., the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and U.S. Justice Foundation Jeremiah Morgan of our firm testified before the Federal Election Commission at its Hearings on the McCutcheon v. FEC Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. (His testimony appears at 5:19:51 of the video.)

John Albert Dummett, Jr. & Edward C. Noonan v. Alejandro Padilla — Petition for Certiorari

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today our firm filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari seeking U.S. Supreme Court Review of two decisions of the California Courts which held that the California Secretary of State had no duty to determine whether a candidate for President of the United States is eligible to serve, if elected, before placing his name on the official state election ballot. Read More

Ohio Election Commission v. Susan B. Anthony List — Amicus Brief Filed Opposing Ohio’s “Ministry of Truth”

Michael Harless Election Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Taking a page out of Orwell’s novel 1984, the Ohio Elections Commission operates as a modern “Ministry of Truth’ — with the power to “determine” and “proclaim” the truth or falsity of every statement made during an Ohio political campaign. Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that the government has no legitimate role whatsoever to play in guiding Americans as to how to vote. Read More

FEC Issues Advisory Opinion Sought by Citizens for Joseph Miller

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Election Law

Representing Alaska Senate candidate Joseph Miller’s campaign committee, Bill Olson appeared before the Federal Election Commission today to answer questions about the facts underlying Advisory Opinion Request No. 13-11 filed by the firm on the campaign’s behalf. After a lengthy discussion, the FEC approved the Advisory Opinion on a 5-1 vote. The Commission ruled that the Committee’s use of campaign funds with respect to an appeal of a judgment to the Alaska Supreme Court relating to his 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate was fully permissible, and not a personal use. Read More

Center for Individual Freedom, et al. v. Chris Van Hollen, et al. Amicus Brief for Free Speech Coalition, Inc., et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Center for Individual Freedom, et al. v. Chris Van Hollen, et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of appellants and reversal. Read More

Free Speech Coalition Analysis of the DISCLOSE Act (S. 3295)

Michael Harless Election Law

Our firm prepared this Analysis of the DISCLOSE Act (S. 3295) on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition to explain the following sections of the DISCLOSE Act that are likely to be of primary concern by member organizations:
Section 103. Treatment of payments for coordinated communications as contributions.
Section 201. Independent expenditures.
Section 202. Electioneering communications.
Section 211. Additional information required to be included in reports on disbursements by covered organizations.
Section 212. Rules regarding use of general treasury funds.
Section 213. Optional use of separate account by covered organizations for campaignrelated activity.
Section 214. Modification of rules relating to disclaimer statements required for certain communications.
Section 301. Requiring disclosure by covered organizations of information on campaign-related activity.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Amicus Brief in Support of Appellant U.S. Supreme Court

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of appellant Citizens United on a supplemental question. The amicus brief urges that Citizens United’s challenge to federal regulation of electioneering communications be sustained, and the decisions in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce andMcConnell v. FEC, as applied to BCRA section 203, be overruled since they endorse an erroneous view of the freedom of speech that conflicts with Citizens United’s freedom of the press. Contrary to the assumptions in Austin and McConnell, the freedom of the press does not confer a special privilege upon the institutional press, but is enjoyed by all the people. Austin’s and McConnell’s narrow reading of the press freedom is not only contrary to history, but at odds with new realities of journalism. Read More

Free Speech Coalition, Inc. and Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Comments on the FEC’s Proposed Regulations on Electioneering Communications (72 Fr 50261)

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Election Law

Today, we filed comments with the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) on behalf of Free Speech Coalition and Free Speech Defense and Education Fund (“FSC/FSDEF”) regarding the FEC’s proposed rulemaking in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 25, 2007 decision in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL II).  That decision upheld WRTL’s unrestricted right to publish issue ads during pre‑election periods, so long as it did not engage in “express advocacy or its functional equivalent.” Read More

Wisconsin Right to Life — Amicus Brief

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed a Brief Amicus Curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wisconsin Right to Life case.  The brief asks the Court to reconsider its prior holdings in the McConnell and Buckley cases, and to strike down the Congressional ban on “electioneering communications.”  (We had previously filed an amicus brief in support of Wisconsin Right to Life when the case came before the Court last year.) Read More