Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: February 2003 Archives

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February 23, 2003

Southern Company

The Atlanta Constitution Journal carried a long article today on the lobbying and campaign contributions of the Southern Company, an Atlata-based holding company with 11 operating companies, including Alabama Power and Georgia Power. In the 2002 campaign, its PAC was the largest campaign contributor among energy companies.

February 20, 2003

Thanks to Robert Ambrogi

Robert Ambrogi has an article in the February issue of Law Technology News including "a round-up of blogs that offer practical information for lawyers." On the list is Votelaw. Even without that mention, I would recommend that you read the article. I found several blogs I want to check out.

Democratic turnout plan

The Washington Post reports today on the GOTV effort the Democrats plan for 2004.

At its heart, the project is a huge, new database containing the names of 158 million voters nationwide, along with demographic, economic and consumer data about them and assorted technological bells and whistles that will allow the party to carve up the electorate in infinite ways and for a variety of purposes.

Sounds like Total Information Awareness to me. Seriously, this should bring the Democrats to parity with the GOP on turnout.

February 19, 2003

another election law blog

Welcome to the blogospher, Rick Hasen. Rick has started a new blog on Election Law. I wonder if anyone will be interested in election law?

Dems alter strategy for reports today,

Democratic congressional leaders are shifting unprecedented responsibility for party fundraising to rank-and-file lawmakers even as they aggressively pursue corporate contributions for their 2004 campaign.
As part of a multi-faceted effort to narrow what some party strategists view as a huge Republican fundraising advantage, they also plan to rely more heavily on celebrity allies in the entertainment industry to increase their party’s small donor base.

'McCain-Feingold School' Finds Many Bewildered

That was the headline in the NY Times today. A short excerpt:

"We sometimes leave our audiences in a state of complete shock" at what they hear, said Robert F. Bauer, a lawyer for the Democrats' House and Senate campaign committees. "A sort of slack-jawed amazement at how far this thing reached" is not uncommon at the seminars, Mr. Bauer said. Nor are "a lot of very anxious questions."

February 18, 2003

Alabama: Sen. Bedford uses campaign funds for legal defense

The Mobile Register reported on Monday,

State Sen. Roger Bedford has used about $175,000 in campaign funds to pay lawyers defending him against extortion charges, according to his campaign reports with the Alabama secretary of state.

Though a rare use of campaign funds, it's perfectly legal, according to a state attorney general's opinion issued in 2000.

That's one of those things you won't find in the statute, but it is legal. Here and here are legal opinions of the Attorney General allowing this practice.

February 17, 2003

HR 235: Electioneering by Houses of Worship

H.R. 235 will allow churches and other religious institutions to engage in some election-related activity without losing their tax-exempt status. Below I have collected the analyses of the bill I have been able to find online.

The Campaign & Media Legal Center: Analysis of Legislation Permitting Houses of Worship to Engage in Electioneering

Alliance for Justice letter to Congressman Houghton

Family News In Focus: Revised Houses of Worship Bill Introduced

Congressman Jones' press release on introduction of the bill

February 16, 2003

DC mayoral aide and the Hatch Act

According to this story, Kevin Robinson, the chief of staff for DC Mayor Anthony Williams urged a group of appointed city officials to contribute to Williams' reelection campaign. Where did he do this? At a meeting concerning the Hatch Act's prohibitions on political activity by DC government employees. How's that for timing?

February 13, 2003

Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act (Political Financing)

Thanks to Trevor Potter for pointing out the Address by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on the occasion of the second reading of Bill C-24, an Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act (Political Financing). Chretien proposes to limit contributions by businesses and labor unions to candidates and riding associations (local party groups) to $1,000 (CDN) per year. His proposal will also increase public funding of national parties and candidates.

Here is the AP story on the speech.

February 8, 2003

Jamming the GOTV effort

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall has a story that the New Hampshire GOP hired a telemarketing firm to call into the Democratic Party GOTV drive so as to jam their phones and prevent them from calling out.

In some places it is illegal to stand in line at a polling place without an intention to vote -- just to make the wait appear longer. How is this different? In both cases, one party uses a scarce resource to prevent its being used by the other party. Actually, phone jamming is worse.

Articles on Voting Machines

Seeing The Forest has a collection of articles on voting machines. Thanks to TalkLeft for the link.

February 6, 2003

Georgia redistricting case

Here is the report in today's Fulton County Daily Report on the Perdue-Baker controversy. More details, as befits a legal newspaper.

Georgia redistricting case

The Atlanta Constitution Journal reports that Georgia Gov. Perdue has hired former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell to represent him in the U.S. Supreme Court. Perdue does not want the Court to hear the appeal of the State over the redistricting plan's preclearance.

February 5, 2003

Georgia redistricting case

AP is reporting that Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D) has decided to pursue the appeal he filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, despite the request of Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) to drop it. The appeal was taken from a decision throwing out a Democratic-supported redistricting plan.

Millionaire's amendment effect in Illinois

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that "Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Blair Hull has poured $1.3 million of his own money directly into his bid, enough to trigger new federal rules intended to level the playing field in races with rich, self-financed candidates."

February 4, 2003

Wisconsin corruption trial

Political State Report: straight from the trenches reports that the judge has thrown out one of 20 charges against Senator Chvala (D).

"Soft money" apparently was for soft drinks

The era of McCain-Feingold campaign-finance regulation has dawned, banishing from the Republican Party's three-day annual winter meeting the receptions and dinners — provided by corporate sponsors — that used to enliven the annual event. Top Stories
Republican leaders noticed the difference last week when they met at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington to strategize and pump themselves up for the coming elections.
"It was brutal. I mean, we had a rules committee meeting this morning and they didn't even have Diet Cokes in there," Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett said with a smile.

Campaign-finance reform shows effects at GOP meeting -- The Washington Times

February 3, 2003

FEC supplements Guides with BCRA information

The Federal Election Commission has issued a 24-page BCRA Campaign Guide Supplement, designed to be placed with your copy of the various Campaign Guides.