Neil Reiff was quoted today in a story in Campaigns and Electionsmagazine on the role of Super PACs going forward. While many stories were written in the last week about the ineffectiveness of larger Super PACs, especially on the Republican side on the Presidential and Senatorial levels, Mr. Reiff argued that a more focused approach by Super PACs will be the way to go. He pointed to CREDO Super PAC, which spent under $700,000 to successfully oppose a number of Tea Party Republicans. Although Mr. Reiff told Campaigns and Elections that although flooding the airwaves became counterproductive for SuperPACs, they will refocus in future elections on improving get out the vote efforts.
Last week, the RNC accused Brad Schneider, the Democratic candidate for Illinois’ 10th Congressional Distrit, of improperly using the RNC elephant logo in a campaign ad. However, campaign attorney Jim Lamb fired back at the RNC writing that it “does not constitute an infringement of the RNC’s trademark” because “is not ‘likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake or to deceive” since Mr. Dold “is, in fact, a Republican and the picture of an elephant only reinforces that fact.” After all, “Bob Dold is a republican. And we are going to continue letting the voters know that fact.”
SRYL Partners Joe Sandler was quoted in a story by The Guardian in the United Kingdom about the rise in importance of lawyers on Election Day. He explains that after the debacle of the Florida recount in the 2000 Presidential elections, a network of attorneys has grown into a “veritable army.” The article explains that in 2004, both campaigns had paid attorneys and volunteers in place in swing states ahead of election day, a model which only expanded in 2008 and 2012.
What will all of these attorneys? Explained Mr. Sandler, “Thousands and thousands of lawyers will be out on election day ferreting out any problems with voting rights.” And should any swing state be too close to call, both campaigns will be ready to litigate.
SRYL Partner Joe Sandler was quoted in an article published by the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. The article discusses the fight over Proposition 37 on this year’s ballot in California. If it passes, it would require labels on all genetically modified foods sold in the state, making it the first law of its kind in the country.
Although opponents of the measure argue that it would lead to a spike in lawsuits for injunctions to stop mislabeling of processed foods, Mr. Sandler, argues that this is not the case.
“It’s not like Prop 65 [a previous similar ballot measure], where there are all kinds of incentives to bring suits and get big contingency fees,” Mr. Sandler told the Mercury News. If companies correct their labels to indicate that food is genetically modified, lawsuits would be dismissed. And if their suppliers certify products are GMO-free, they’re excused from any case. Mr. Sandler is a legal adviser for Right to Know, a ballot committee supporting Proposition 37.
Neil Reiff was quoted in a Mother Jones article discussing the latest developments in campaign finance and election law cases. The article explains that after waves of cases that led to the rise of SuperPACs and deregulated campaign finance laws, including Citizens United v. FEC, a new wave of decisions has begun to limit and even roll back their impact. It’s here that Mr. Reiff tells Mother Jones: “The free speech crew’s winning streak has hit a bump in the road.”
A new editorial by Neil Reiff was published in Campaigns and Elections magazine this morning. Titled “The Weakening of State and Local Parties,” Mr. Reiff discusses how ten years after the passage of BCRA, the law has crippled the ability of state and local parties to raise and spend money in non-federal races. While the rise of Super PACs has led to hundreds of millions of dollars of largely unregulated contributions and expenditures over the last few years, new regulations and court decisions have continued to restrict what state and local parties can do more and more.
Mr. Reiff argues that state parties serve a vital role, and through grassroots organizing, they can serve as a counterbalance to the negative media games that Super PACs play. Thus, Congress must act to restore some semblance of a level playing field for state and local parties.
Jeff Wice was featured in an article in Newsday about a Fair Redistricting Initiative in Brookhaven, NY. For the first time, districts for the Brookhaven Town Council is using a bipartisan redistricting commission consisting of three registered Democrats, three registered Republicans, and two non-partisans to re-draw districts for Brookhaven’s Town Council seats. The council is the first of its kind to be utilized at the local level in New York state.
Mr. Wice is serving the commission as a general counsel, which begins hearings on the redistricting process next week: “We’ve seen what hasn’t worked so far,” Wice said of this census cycle’s other redistricting efforts. “This might be an exception.”
Neil Reiff was quoted in a new Mother Jones article about the big impact that Super-PACs are having not only on the Presidential level, but also on state and local races. The article argues that even in large states like California, the average cost of winning a state Senate race is less than one million dollars. Thus, “Super-PACs playing at the state level don’t need to drop millions to make a big impact, says Neil Reiff, a veteran Democratic election attorney. In a crowded state-level or congressional primary with three or four candidates, a little money goes a long way. ‘If you’ve got a field with little or no name recognition,” Reiff says, “you can drown out everyone else.'”
Campaigns and Elections magazine is up with a new round table-style article today, reflecting on Citizens United and the “new world of money and politics,” featuring Neil Reiff. He discusses the impact of the SpeechNow.org case, the permeation of Super PACs into Senate and House races, the impact of BCRA on state and local parties, and more.
He was one of five election lawyers to be featured in the article, along with Mark Elias of Perkins Coie, former FEC Chair Robert Lenhard (now at Covington and Burling), former FEC Chairman Michael Toner (now at Wiley Rein), and Jason Torchinsky of Holtzman Vogel.
Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb attorney Liz Howard was quoted today in a Slate.com article regarding political text message spam. The article discusses the proliferation of these unwanted and unsolicited text messages, which cost recipients money in text message charges, in recent elections. Although the Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits sending unsolicited political text messages, some spammers believe they have found a loophole in the law.
In a recent Petition submitted to the FCC on behalf of Scott Goodstein’s firm, Revolution Messaging, Inc., Howard and Joe Sandler request the agency to clarify that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits all political text message spam, even text message spam sent using internet-to-phone SMS. “’You’re not allowed to use an auto-dialing device to call a cell phone without express consent,’ argues Elizabeth Howard, a lawyer with the Washington firm Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb who drafted Revolution’s petition.”
In addition to the article at Slate.com, the issue was also covered by the Los Angeles Times.