James Bopp

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James Bopp, Jr.
Nationality United States
Occupation Attorney
Known for Legal work for conservative causes

James Bopp, Jr. is a prominent conservative attorney. Until August 31, 2012, he was also the Republican National Committeeman for Indiana, but he lost his bid for re-election to that post.[1]


Bopp is a native of Terre Haute, Indiana, and holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and a law degree from the University of Florida. Bopp is a member of the James Madison Center for Free Speech.[2]

Bopp served as an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

He has served as the general counsel for National Right to Life since 1978 and as the special counsel for Focus on the Family since 2004. Bopp was the editor of Restoring the Right to Life: The Human Life Amendment. (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1984). Bopp no longer endorses the passage of the Human Life Amendment or similar state-level provisions based on the present composition of the Supreme Court, and has stated that "now is not the time to pass state constitutional amendments or bills banning abortion."[3]

Bopp became one of Indiana's representatives to the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2006.[1] In 2009, he and another RNC member proposed a resolution calling on the Democratic Party to change its name to the "Democrat Socialist Party".[1] At the RNC's meeting in 2010, he was the chief sponsor of a resolution on financial support of candidate.[4] The resolution, titled "Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates", names ten public policy positions that are important to the Republican National Committee. If the resolution is passed, public officials and candidates who disagree with three or more of the ten positions would not be eligible for financial support or endorsement by the Republican National Committee.[5]

Client list[edit]

Obtained from Bopp's resume on Bopp's firm's website February 2012.[6]

Representative Clientele (present and past) as of 2012:

National Organization for Marriage, National Right to Life Committee, Focus on the Family, Susan B. Anthony List, All Children Matter, Friedman Foundation, Catholic Answers, Christian Broadcasting Network, Salem Radio, Gerard Health Foundation, Priests for Life, Traditional Values Coalition, Home School Legal Defense Association, Vision America, Common Sense America, Catholic Citizens Committee, Life Issues Institute, Physicians for Compassionate Care, the Christian Coalition*, Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Concerned Women for America, American Academy of Medical Ethics, National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation, Club for Growth, Citizens United, Federation for American Immigration Reform, National Federation of Independent Business, Republican Governors Association, the Libertarian Party, Republican National Committee, and the state Republican Parties of Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont.

Other clients not listed on resume: Family PAC

Notable legal cases[edit]

On campaign finance, Bopp worked as a legal advisor to Citizens United leading up to their victory in the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.[7] Another of Bopp's initiatives was bringing a lawsuit challenging what he believes to be a low limit for reporting campaign donations and the open way in which information on such donations is shared in California.[8]

According the Campaign Legal Center, Bopp filed 21 of the 31 lawsuits it associated with challenging campaign finance regulations. All told, Bopp has spent 30 years fighting limits on campaign spending and is credited with changing the political landscape of the 2012 election. According to the Center for Responsive Politics. “It’s safe to say that groups on the left and right have Jim Bopp to thank for their new-found freedom.”[9] In an interview with PBS' Frontline in 2012, Bopp said he was defending a "basically absolute" interpretation of the right to political free speech under the First Amendment. As such, he said he is working to eliminate or significantly loosen campaign spending limits and to eliminate donor-name-reporting require ments.[10]

Bopp represented Phil Thalheimer and Associated Builders & Contractors PAC versus City of San Diego.[11] According to how the case was viewed in Hawaii, provided a PAC made "solely independent expenditures ...the case foreclosed the argument that the State has a justifiable interest in preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption in regulating independent expenditures".[12]

Bopp is also currently serving as the lawyer for Michael Gableman in a case alleging he broke the Wisconsin Judicial Code of Conduct in his successful run for the state supreme court.[13] In 2008 Bopp served as the lawyer for Rosalind Kurita in her suit against the Tennessee Democratic Party Committee for removing her for her spot as the Democratic nominee in her State Senate district after she had won the primary.[14]

Bopp is defending the Susan B. Anthony List against a defamation lawsuit by Steve Driehaus, a former congressman who says that the SBA List made false statements regarding taxpayer funding of abortion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to "deprive [him of his] livelihood".[15]

In 2012, Bopp represented the National Organization for Marriage, an organization opposed to same-sex marriage, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the release of its donor list. In that ruling the Court described how if a reasonable person when viewing the totality of the situation would conclude that their donation would be applied in a manner to promote a particular candidate or cause that it cannot be said to be independent. Bopp promised to appeal.[16]


Bopp's association and advocacy on the part of certain groups has incited critics supporting opposing viewpoints to label him as "Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections",[17] or "constitutional terror of Terre Haute".[18] Reaction is coming mostly in connection with the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case that many see opened up unrestricted campaign donations that can affect elections of candidates and votes on special interest resolutions such as bans on gay-marriage. On February 2, 2012, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Chairman of the Rules Committee, promised hearings on this issue and that "overwhelmingly" the bulk of contributions are going to support Republican candidates, owing in part to Democratic positions against continuing tax breaks to the wealthy.[19] Bopp's response to all the attention the case is receiving in the 2012 election was that members of Congress may realize "they have cut their own throats."[20][21]

In response to criticism that his plan for establishment of a "Republican Super PAC" was a plan for an illegal arrangement, Bopp was quoted as saying, “The Supreme Court doesn’t care, and I don’t care, and the Federal Election Commission doesn’t care ..... No one that matters cares.”[22]

2012 Romney endorsement[edit]

According to a February 2012 announcement by the Romney campaign, they received Bopp's endorsement. Romney stated in August 2011 that his ability to benefit from large contributions via PACs from individual donors helps him to equalize the influence of corporations and unions that can pool small contributions from many employees or union members. Romney stated “My own view is I don’t like all the influence of money in politics, but I don’t have a solution that’s a lot better than saying let people contribute what they will, then report it, let people know who gave what to who.”[23]


  1. ^ a b c "Behind Closed Doors: Hammond replaces Bopp on RNC". Gannett. June 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  2. ^ James Madison Center
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates" (pdf). Republican National Committee. via MSN. 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ Wallsten, Peter (November 24, 2009). "Some Conservatives Push a 'Purity Test' for GOP Candidates". The Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ Bopp Resume, Bopplaw.com, Referenced February 4, 2012
  7. ^ "A Quest to End Spending Rules for Campaigns", New York Times, 2010/01/25.
  8. ^ "ADF attorneys file suit to stop harassment of Cal. marriage amendment supporters", alliancealert.org, 2009/01/08.
  9. ^ Election Spending to Exceed $6 Billion Thanks Partly to Jim Bopp, Bloomberg, By Jonathan D. Salant, Sep 21, 2011
  10. ^ "James Bopp: What Citizens United Means for Campaign Finance", Frontline on PBS, October 30, 2012 (edited transcript of interview conducted July 27, 2012); interview used in part in "Big Sky, Big Money" documentary, correspondent Kai Ryssdal, broadcast October 30, 2012. Primary focus of documentary: Montana campaign finance law and politics. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  11. ^ Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, 645 F. 3d 1109 - Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, June 9, 2011
  12. ^ Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Annual Report for Year ending June 2011, State of Hawaii website, Referenced February 8, 2012
  13. ^ Wisconsin Law blog entry
  14. ^ Kurita Answers Motions Filed By Defendants In District Court Case
  15. ^ Judge: Reform doesn't fund abortion
  16. ^ Anti-gay-marriage group loses Maine list appeal, By David Sharp Associated Press, January 31, 2012
  17. ^ Money & Democracy Update: James Bopp Jr. is Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections, Citizen Vox, By Angela Bradbery, October 14, 2011
  18. ^ Bopping around in the state of Kansas, Daily Kos, By Karen Hedwig Backman, Aug 28, 2010
  19. ^ Morning Joe: Sen. Schumer: superPACs 'damaging' and 'evil', Interview Chuck Schumer, MSN, February 2, 2012
  20. ^ The Daily Beast, February 1, 2012
  21. ^ Citizens United lawyer: I hate super PACs too, The Voting News, February 2, 2012
  22. ^ Is New Republican ‘Super PAC’ Legal?, TPM Muckracker, By Ryan J. Reilly, May 18, 2011
  23. ^ Conservative lawyer in Citizens United case endorses Mitt Romney for president, Boston Globe, By Shira Schoenberg, February 7, 2012

External links[edit]