Opinion: Campaign Finance Law Should Do More To Prevent Donor Harassment - - PressFrom - US
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Opinion Campaign Finance Law Should Do More To Prevent Donor Harassment

19:50  21 october  2019
19:50  21 october  2019 Source:   dailycaller.com

Giuliani's relationship with arrested men subject of criminal investigation: Sources

  Giuliani's relationship with arrested men subject of criminal investigation: Sources The business relationship between Rudy Giuliani and men charged in a campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation.The investigation became public after the FBI had to quickly move to arrest Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman before they boarded a flight out of the country from Washington Dulles Airport with one-way tickets. They have been named as witnesses in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Federal campaign finance laws regulate the use of money in federal elections. According to the Congressional Research Service, federal campaign finance laws regulate the sources, recipients, amounts, and frequency of contributions to political campaigns

Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employees should also report harassment to management at an early stage to prevent its escalation.

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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

After a summer in which Americans were named, shamed, and harassed for their campaign donations, many are asking whether it’s wise to allow the government to publicize so much of our political activity. Advocates of tougher disclosure requirements, meanwhile, are arguing that this wasn’t what they bargained for. They don’t make a compelling case.

“The Castro thing was an aberration,” longtime disclosure advocate Fred Wertheimer said in reference to a tweet by Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro that listed names and employers of constituents who donated to President Trump’s reelection campaign. One of those donors later shared a harassing voicemail in which an anonymous caller told them, “you’re a scumbag and I f—ing despise everything you stand for,” and promised to spread their phone number across the internet for further abuse.

Trump inauguration donor will plead guilty to falsifying records to hide his work as foreign agent

  Trump inauguration donor will plead guilty to falsifying records to hide his work as foreign agent A California financier and donor to Trump's inauguration agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of falsifying records to hide his work as foreign agent when lobbying "high-level U.S. government officials," the Justice Department said in a release Tuesday.Imaad Shah Zuberi, 49, used millions of dollars from clients intending to influence the American government for his personal use. Zuberi also agreed he would plead guilty to charges of tax evasion and making nearly $1 million in illegal campaign contributions, according to the release. He faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison.

Campaign finance law seems complicated, mainly, because it is. If you are hoping to enter into the political Though campaign finance law can get confusing and contradictory when moving from a state to federal Most campaigns receive the most funding from individual wealthy donors , though

The first state laws regulating campaign finance were passed in the latter part of the 19th century. However, supporters of campaign finance limitations continue to argue for still more regulation. To suggest that candidates should not point to each other's perceived shortcomings, writes Felknor, is

Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen, an organization that supports more stringent disclosure mandates, said that harassment of donors was a “whole different, new issue and something that we are concerned about.”

The risk that donor information would be abused to fuel intimidation tactics, however, was always well-known. Concerns about privacy and harassment have been the leading argument against forcing Americans to report minor amounts of political activity to the government. To give one prominent example, Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Citizens United referenced numerous ordinary Americans who lost their jobs or faced retaliation for their campaign contributions.

“I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment that subjects citizens of this nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or preemptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in ‘core political speech, the primary object of First Amendment protection,’” wrote Thomas.

Giuliani associates due in court in campaign finance case

  Giuliani associates due in court in campaign finance case Two associates of Rudy Giuliani are to be arraigned Wednesday on charges they used straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to politicians and committees to advance their business interests. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were expected to plead not guilty in federal court in Manhattan in a case that's cast a harsh light on the business dealings of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

Federal campaign finance law should thus be read in a way that will avoid that outcome. Determining what types of information should be deemed contributions is a really hard question, given the strong But without more , the Trump campaign ’s apparent attempt to obtain vaguely described

Dismantling campaign finance laws can create more incentive for candidates to bend their will to the people While campaign finance information must be made public by law , that doesn’t Federal candidates’ reporting requirements allow them to submit campaign donor information on a quarterly

Meanwhile, on the floor of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spent years warning that disclosure is a weapon in the wrong hands. In 2014, he warned that the DISCLOSE Act, which proposed expansive new disclosure requirements for groups that discuss legislation, would allow political operatives and activists to “go after the funding that amplifies the message. And they’ll do it the old fashioned way: through donor harassment and intimidation.”

These concerns were front-and-center again just earlier this year, when House Democrats passed a legislative package that would force many nonprofits and advocacy groups to expose their supporters. McConnell noted, “All this appears custom-built to chill the exercise of the First Amendment and give federal bureaucrats — and the waiting left-wing mob — a clearer idea of just who to intimidate.”

Those warnings appear prescient after the events of this summer. In addition to the Castro tweet, there were boycotts of SoulCycle and Equinox after the chairman of their parent company, real estate developer Stephen Ross, decided to host a fundraiser for Trump. A tweet asserting that Olive Garden was supporting Trump briefly went viral before being debunked. (Corporations are prohibited from contributing to candidates.) Actors Eric McCormack and Debra Messing were accused of trying to create a blacklist of Trump supporters after asking that attendees of a fundraiser be named publicly.

2 Giuliani associates plead not guilty to campaign finance crimes in New York court

  2 Giuliani associates plead not guilty to campaign finance crimes in New York court Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are expected to appear before a judge in the Southern District of New York. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were each released on a million-dollar bond and subjected to home confinement in Florida with GPS monitoring. The men, who were arrested earlier this month at Dulles International Airport on their way out of the country, also surrendered their passports as a condition of their release.

California law requires campaign committees to report information for any contributors of 0 or more , which is then made publicly available. Why NOM doggedly fights donor disclosure is unclear. It has argued that complying with campaign finance laws is burdensome and unconstitutional.

According to Buckley, the law ’s limitations on campaign contributions and expenditures violated the First Amendment. In Buckley, the judges ruled that contribution limits were necessary to deter corruption as candidates would feel indebted to big donors .

At a time when everyone’s contributions over $200 are just a few clicks away, disclosure laws created in a pre-internet era deserve a second look. Privacy needs more protection.

Some disclosure advocates may be starting to come around. Rick Hasen, an election law professor who runs an influential blog and listserv, told CNN “the internet has changed the calculus.”

“We might well raise the disclosure threshold to $1,000 or $2,000, so people of modest means who are making small contributions don’t get caught up in these strong policy debates in our very polarized society,” he said.

A viable path for reform would be to raise the $200 threshold for public disclosure, tie it to inflation, and end the reporting of donors’ employers. At the same time, we must defeat efforts to expand these laws to nonprofits and advocacy groups.

This summer’s rash of donor-intimidation was not a surprise or an accident. Free speech advocates and even government leaders predicted it would happen. Politicians pushed ahead anyway. Now it’s time for the pendulum to swing back the other way. We should expand privacy in politics to ensure every American can participate without being harassed for their beliefs and donations.

Bradley A. Smith (@CommishSmith) is chairman of the Institute for Free Speech and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller

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