After Much Delay, the DISCLOSE Act is Introduced

In front of the Supreme Court, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation meant to diminish the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The much anticipated bill is titled as expected, the DISCLOSE Act, which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections. Four Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Al Franken (D-MN).

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More Citizens are Using the Internet to Engage with Government

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project released a new report which found that most Internet users have visited a government website to get information or complete a transaction during the last year. The findings are based on a survey of 2,258 adults 18 or older. According to the report, about a quarter of adults have posted their own comments online about government issues, participated in an online town hall meeting or joined a group that tries to influence policies.

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Supreme Court Denies Review in Challenge to FEC Rules

The Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case originating from the 2008 presidential election, challenging Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure rules. A 527 organization, the Real Truth About Obama (RTAO), wanted to sponsor ads covering President Obama's record on abortion and other issues. After the group lost their appeal of a federal district court decision, RTAO requested the Supreme Court to review the case.

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Memo Released on Citizens United Bill

After much hullabaloo, more details have been revealed about Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Van Hollen's (D-MD) legislative response to counter the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. Even though it has not been formally introduced, a memo has been disclosed outlining the bill.

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Public Citizen Works to End the Revolving Door

Public Citizen has asked 47 retiring lawmakers to sign a pledge not to take a lobbying job upon leaving Congress. The pledge states, "Upon leaving Congress, I will not accept employment or a leadership position for two years with any business that lobbies, issues lobby communications or has hired lobbyists to lobby my office, committee or staff during my last term."

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Gold Mouse Awards Reveal the Best Congressional Websites

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) announced the Gold Mouse Awards for the 111th Congress. 620 websites were evaluated, including all Members, committees, and leadership sites, to determine the best congressional websites. 131 offices were selected for a Gold, Silver or Bronze Mouse Award.

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FEC Announces Rulemaking Schedule to Address Court Rulings

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) released a proposed rulemaking schedule to write new campaign finance regulations in response to multiple recent court decisions. The most predominant cases are the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in EMILY's List v. FEC.

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Preparations for Citizens United Response Continues in Light of Court Vacancy

Many are predicting that because of the Citizens United decision, the issue of campaign finance may become a hot topic during the confirmation of the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. President Obama has made some public statements indicating that he would like a nominee who also disapproves of the case. Stevens authored the 90 page dissent in that case.

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New Tools to Help Advocates with Campaign Finance Data

A new site, TransparencyData.com, is acclaimed as "a central source for all federal and state campaign contributions made in the last twenty years." The Sunlight Foundation teamed up with the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics, and by merging data from these groups, produced a new development in the availability of campaign finance data.

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Should Cell Phone Companies Have Control Over Nonprofits' Messaging?

Over two years ago, we reported that Verizon Wireless prohibited the content in a text message campaign from Naral Pro-Choice America because they claimed, "it had the right to block 'controversial or unsavory' text messages." The issue of whether or not wireless phone companies can restrict what nonprofits say in a text message to its members has come up again.  An opinion article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses these issues, written by Vincent Stehle a philanthropic consultant.

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