Archive for March, 2010

DC Circuit “the First Amendment cannot be encroached upon for naught”

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Last month I wrote about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v FEC and its impact (or lack of) on Mississippi elections. In the column I wrote about three more upcoming cases that could impact campaign finance laws nationwide. One involved an organization known as

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is currently reviewing v FEC in which plaintiffs are challenging the $5000 contribution cap from PACs to organizations making independent expenditures for or against federal candidates.

Today the D.C. Circuit, in a unanamous 10 judge decision, struck down federal contribution limits from individuals to an organization wishing to make independent expenditures. It upheld organizational and disclosure requirements for that organization. The WSJ Law Blog has the background on the ruling.

A seperate case decided today involved soft-money fundraising for party building efforts. I wrote:

Republican National Committee v FEC in federal district court seeks to strike the McCain-Feingold prohibition against soft-money for efforts unrelated to candidate advocacy (party building, redistricting efforts). The Court could use such a case to strike or ease contribution limits.

In this case, the AP is reporting a loss for the RNC:

In a case brought by the Republican National Committee, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington said it lacks the authority to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the ban on soft money fundraising by national party committees. That ban is a cornerstone of the so-called McCain-Feingold law and one of the few major parts of the law to survive court challenges.

The RNC had argued that it should be able to raise soft money for state elections, congressional redistricting, legal costs and other activities that it said had nothing to do with federal elections. The Federal Election Commission contended the soft money ban should be upheld.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling, including whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Both of these rulings, along with Citizens United earlier this year, increase or reaffirm the opportunity and ability of organizations to participate in elections while leaving political parties, coordinated political pacs, and candidates restrained under more burdensome rules.

State Farm and Jim Hood

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Last year I wrote about the efforts of Jackson New Media, Inc. (publisher of, WLBT in Jackson, WLOX of Biloxi, and WDAM of Hattiesburg, to unseal materials in State Farm vs. Hood. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge David Bramlette issued a ruling giving them status to make the motions.

Alan Lange explains all the details and has links to the relevant documents: / Order in State Farm vs. hood rules in favor of media and government transparency

Tom Freeland has some comments as well: / Alan Lange wins the 1st step to a victory on open government in State Farm v. Hood

And this is my column from April of last year on the background: Perry / Unsealing State Farm deal

Business grassroots & GOP Lt Gov candidates

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Three names are being discussed as actual or potential candidates for lieutenant governor in 2011 from the Republican side: Senator Billy Hewes, Auditor Stacey Pickering, Treasurer Tate Reeves. I write about each this week and consider their prospects in the race: Perry / Three GOPers eye Lt Gov

Last week I wrote about efforts by the national and Mississippi business communities to increase their grassroots political activity. This was discussed at a BIPEC luncheon that also featured a morning session with Pickering and Reeves as well as Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. I shared some of their thoughts about business and politics: Perry / Business turns grassroots

Brookhaven voter fraud victim excited about photo voter-ID

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Last year I wrote about Jennifer Jackson and her dismay to discover that one election day, someone had stolen her vote and also had voted for her deceased father. The Brookhaven Daily Leader has a great article about Jackson and her excitement about being able to vote in favor of photo voter-ID: Daily Leader / Victim of voter fraud hoping for ID ballot passage

RR: Thompson cleared; allegations remain

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Congressman Bennie Thompson was cleared in the ethics investigation regarding two Caribbean trips in 2007 and 2008; but he was required to pay for the cost of the trips. There are more allegations and some speculate they have been leaked out not by Republican opposition but by the Obama White House. Read about all those issues online at the Madison County Journal: Perry / Thompson cleared

RR: 26 vying for Congress in Mississippi

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Mississippi Congress 2010 by the numbers:

–4 Congressional Seats
–26 Candidates
–4 Primaries
–0 Incumbents Facing a Primary
–6 Political Parties with Candidates
–4 Independent Candidates
–5 Candidates Running Outside Their Home District
–11 Candidates in the First District

The Secretary of State has the full list posted online.

You can read my take on the races online at the Madison County Journal: Perry / 26 vying for Congress

National Journal Interview with Haley Barbour

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

In case you missed it, here is the recent video interview of Governor Haley Barbour by National Journal.  He discusses the current political climate and how it compares to 1994 when he was RNC Chairman, the state of debate on health care reform, the creation of the center-right think tank “America’s Action Network” to be headed by former Senator Norm Coleman, the stimulus, and Barbour as the “anti-Obama” in 2012.

On running for President, Barbour says, “When those elections [2010] are over I’m going to see if there’s anything to think about.  I think the liklihood of me running for president is not very high. But there’s no use in even thinking about it until after November and one of the reasons is I want to set an example for people in our party. Any Republican who isn’t focused on 2010 doesn’t have his eye on the ball.”

Also, here is a recent column authored by Governor Barbour in the Washington Post regarding Toyota: “U.S. owes Toyota fair, careful treatment on safety issues”

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