Public Financing of Legislative Races

Supreme Court 2009-2010: Pro-Corporate, But Continued Trend Towards Deferral to State Authority

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ended its term with a bang with a ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago that state gun control regulations can be struck down by federal courts based on the Second Amendment. While the number and scale of blockbuster decisions was not so high this session, the singular impact of the Citizens United case earlier in the term unleashing unregulated corporate money on elections, combined with the dangerous implications of the Rent-A-Center, West v. Jackson arbitration decision, emphasizes the pro-corporate bias the Supreme Court has increasingly exercised in recent years.

Update: Options for Reining in Corporate Election Cash in Wake of Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) decision earlier this year gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as citizens with regard to advocating for or against political candidates, unleashing a flood of new corporate cash into state races and a range of new state policy initiatives that aim to protect the integrity of their elections.  In response, states are pursuing other reforms, such as requiring shareholder approval for corporations spending election cash, tighter public disclosure and attribution in ads, public financing of elections, and calling for a federal constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision.

Open Space for Campaign Reform Created by Former Illinois Governors' Woes

With one former Governor in jail for racketeering and another removed and indicted for selling political appointments for large campaign donations, now might just be the time that Illinois finally reforms its government.  The new governor, Pat Quinn, has formed the Illinois Reform Commission.  The Commission is tasked with making recommendations within 100 days on how to reform the government and finally stemming the corruption for which the state has long been famous.  The commission has already identified loose campaign finance regulations and the lack of transparency as the primary drivers of corruption in state government.  Now they are traveling around the state to hear from experts and citizens on what they think needs to be done.