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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Groups Continue to Look For Ways Around Campaign Finance Disclosure

Rick Hasen has an interesting column at Slate, discussing efforts to chip away at campaign finance regulations. Hasen suggests it will only get worse. "Opponents of reasonable regulation have a new target: trying to keep the flow of campaign money secret." For example, Citizens United submitted an advisory opinion request to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), asking if it qualifies for the "media exemption" under the Federal Campaign Finance Act.

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AU Asks IRS to Investigate Florida Church for Electioneering Against Gay Mayoral Candidate

Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate a Florida church for improper electioneering. Americans United filed the complaint against Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, as a result of the church posting a sign on its property that read, "No Homo Mayor," in an apparent attempt to deter people from voting for Craig Lowe, an openly gay Gainesville mayoral candidate.

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Disclosure Requirements Endure After SpeechNow.org Case Decided

In SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, a federal appeals court unanimously struck down limits on contributions to independent political groups that want to spend money in support or opposition to candidates. The court ruled as unconstitutional the $5,000 annual limit on donations from individuals to groups like SpeechNow.org.

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