Sunday, December 26, 2010

James Bopp: Public (financing) enemy number one

“We had a 10-year plan to take all this down. If we do it right, I think we can pretty well dismantle the entire regulatory regime that is called campaign finance law. […] We have been awfully successful and we are not done yet.” - James Bopp, 2010

Meet the most dangerous person in the world of campaign finance that you’ve never heard of. Reform groups Common Cause and Public Campaign recently released a report tracing James Bopp Jr.’s efforts to undermine campaign finance regulation and advance other fringe causes throughout the past four decades. A low-profile Indiana lawyer, Bopp was the driving force behind the Supreme Court’s abysmal 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, which gave corporations the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections, and is the top legal threat to campaign finance regulation in the states as well.

Bopp anonymously collects money from the very kind of corporate interests that desire the ability to buy elections with impunity and then uses it to swoop in and challenge common sense campaign finance laws throughout the entire nation. He aims to dismantle all campaign finance regulation, leaving us in an electoral “Wild West” - a world in which there are no limits whatsoever on political spending and campaigns are not required to disclose their donors. This leaves voters without even the most basic information to judge whether a candidate’s political contributors are having an undue influence on their policies. Ironically, this is the level of regulation that even opponents of campaign finance reform usually recognize as necessary.

Bopp’s extreme agenda is not limited to destroying campaign finance laws. While vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, Bopp led an effort to rid the party of moderates, even attempting to pass a resolution pegging President George W. Bush as having embraced “socialism.” He’s also intervened in our own Ocean State, attempting to block an investigation by the Board of Elections of Governor Don Carcieri’s 2002 governor’s campaign over whether Republicans illegally used money from the national party and having been selected with a no-bid contract to pen a legal brief for Carcieri opposing same-sex marriage.

Read the full report and press release here:

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