Campaign Legal Center
|Slogan||Representing the public interest in enforcement of media and campaign law|
The Campaign Legal Center is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) that supports strong enforcement of United States campaign finance laws. Legal Center attorneys track and participate in a variety of cases around the country involving campaign finance law at the federal, state and local levels.
The CLC's website allows users to track the activities of the Federal Election Commission, campaign finance legislation, and good-government issues such as lobbying, ethics, and redistricting reform, while its blog offers expert opinion on such matters. The center also supports the need for free media access for candidates in order to dampen the need for incessant political fundraising.
Trevor Potter is the Legal Center's founding President and General Counsel. He served as General Counsel to John McCain's 2008 Presidential campaign (while on leave of absence from the Legal Center) and also held that position with the McCain 2000 campaign. Potter is also a practicing lawyer and Chairman of the Political Practice Group of the international law firm Caplin Drysdale. J. Gerald Hebert serves as the Legal Center's Executive Director and Director of Litigation. The current policy director is Meredith McGehee, formerly Chief Lobbyist for Common Cause.
In 2004, it was a party to complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission against groups like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and America Coming Together, for trying to directly influence federal elections.
The center was critical of former Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards's use of charity organizations which he had founded, complaining they were being used chiefly to keep himself in the public eye in preparation for a possible 2008 Presidential run.
The group filed an amicus brief in the 2007 landmark Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, unsuccessfully urging the Court not to strike down a provision of McCain-Feingold which prevented unlimited political contributions to organizations not directly affiliated with Federal candidates. The following year it again filed a brief with the Court over a rule in the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that raised contribution limits when candidates faced a self-funding opponent; the group favored the rule, which was struck down by the Court.
The group filed an amicus brief in 2011 on behalf of eight public interest groups in support of challenged provisions of Arizona's clean election law, the Citizens Clean Elections Act. After the Court struck down the provisions, a spokesperson for the group declared that the decision undermines "the integrity of our elections." Later that year, the Center highlighted concerns before the FEC that Stephen Colbert's satirical Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, had serious imitators exploiting the regulations on politicians with television contracts. The organization's President, Trevor Potter, served as Colbert's lawyer in establishing the PAC. In August, it asked the U.S. Justice Department to probe the behavior of W Spann LLC.
According to the organization's 2010 IRS Form 990, for the calendar year 2010 it had gross revenue of $706,000, and spent $1,183,000. The top paid employees were Hebert, paid $185,000 as Executive Director, Paul Ryan, Director of FEC Programs, $125,000, and Potter, paid $120,000 as President and General Counsel, working 15 hours per week.
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- Geiger, Kim; Melanie Mason (June 30, 2011). "Stephen Colbert makes case before FEC for 'Colbert Super PAC'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
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