David Mitrani was quoted today in Politico about the application of the Citizens United case in state elections, and on state-level Super PACs. Mr. Mitrani highlighted the fact that several states still have not incorporated Citizens United into their laws.
Mr. Mitrani told Politico:
“In the states where there are holdouts, there is no legal impediment to the super PAC form,” said David Mitrani, an election attorney with the Democratic law firm Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb. “It is the law of the land.”
According to Mitrani, about a half-dozen states have still not incorporated a super-PAC like form into their election laws — and other lawsuits may follow.
On Saturday, Time Magazine published a story on the growth of Ready for Hillary, a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC. The article describes how the Super PAC has geared up over the past few months so that if Ms. Clinton indeed decides to run for President, it will be ready to hit the ground running on day 1. Jim Lamb was named as one of several key cogs in the article that have helped the Super PAC build out a massive grassroots operation, making Ready for Hillary the premiere Super PAC of the 2016 Presidential race.
In addition, Politico’s Mike Allen featured the article as the lead story in this morning’s Politico Playbook. The excerpted section of the article in Playbook not only highlighted Ready for Hillary’s growth, but also included Mr. Lamb’s citation as a key cog in the operation.
To read the full article, which promises to be the first of several on the growth of Ready for Hillary, click here.
On Sunday, Politico reported on the dire financial straits many state parties are facing as donors are increasingly giving more to Super PACs than state parties. Using data provided by Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb, Politico crunched state party campaign finance data from 2000 through 2013, and found a near universal decline in fundraising numbers:
On both sides of the ledger, state parties have shown signs of financial strain. For in-state elections, state parties raised an average of $5.4 million in 2000. By 2008, that number had dropped to $4.1 million. By 2012, it was $2.8 million.
On the federal side, just four state parties out of 100 — all Republican — had more than $1 million of federal funds in the bank at the end of 2013.
Politico cited an increasingly competitive fundraising environment and a number of federal rules that restrict how state parties can raise and spend money. In response, state party leaders have called on Congress to loosen such restrictions, and allow them to remain politically viable.
Jim Lamb’s successful track record in fighting false and misleading Super PACs was highlighted in an article in Campaigns andElections today. The article discussed ways to fight back against Super PAC television ads, which are afforded much fewer first amendment protections than candidate-sponsored ads. The article highlights Mr. Lamb’s success in fighting back when the facts are outright wrong or false. Backed up with research, Mr. Lamb breaks down each claim made by the Super PAC with a news-sourced rebuttal, imploring the station to protect the public from “false, misleading, and deceptive advertising.”
David Mitrani was quoted today in a story in the Huffington Post about the growth of super PACs and their strong fundraising numbers in a non-Presidential year. Mr. Mitrani pointed to super PACs’ ability to spend money in many state races, and thus streamlining fundraising operations as one reason why they have become so popular over the past few years.
He told the Huffington Post “Now that we have super PACs, federal funds are easier to raise and it’s a more centralized way for people to structure their organization.”
Neil Reiff has written a new article for Campaigns and Elections magazine this morning, offering a preview of several campaign finance issues likely to come to the forefront in 2014. With 2014 midterms right around the corner, Mr. Reiff identifies five issues likely to make news in the new year:
Super PACs expanding their influence into state and local races
States raising contribution limits
The McCutcheon v. FEC Supreme Court case and its impacts on federal and state aggregate contribution limits
A continued push for more disclosure from 501(c)(4) groups, especially as it regards to political spending by such groups
Potential for a new push from Congress to reform campaign finance laws, especially Super PAC
James Lamb was cited in an article in the Washington Postabout the growth of Ready for Hillary, a Super PAC urging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. Mr. Lamb is cited among a number of former Clinton advisers who are currently advising the Super PAC, which according to an adviser of a rival Super PAC gives “the official ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal of approval for all things Hillary.”
In an article for the Center for Public Integrity, Jim Lamb defended the name of a pro-Hillary Clinton SuperPAC. At issue is whether a SuperPAC that is supportive of, but independent from, a potential Presidential candidate may use part of the candidate’s name in naming their own SuperPAC. Federal law proscribes SuperPACs from using the name of a declared candidate for federal office. For example, the article reports that after Rick Perry entered the 2012 Republican Presidential primary, the FEC mandated that “Americans for Rick Perry” change its name. The SuperPAC did so, rebranding as “Restoring Prosperity Fund.”
Similarly, Ready for Hillary is one of three SuperPACs aimed at supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should she decide to run for President in 2016, and all three contain Ms. Clinton’s first name. However, as counsel for Ready for Hillary, Jim Lamb told the Center for Public Integrity that “We are aware of this federal regulation. If Hillary decides to run and becomes a candidate, we will continue to be in compliance with this regulation.”
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.
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.'”