The Birth of the Super PAC By Renée Loth via The Boston Globe

Jeffrey Clements Posted by Jeffrey Clements.

Jeffrey Clements is a cofounder and general counsel of Free Speech for People, a national, nonpartisan campaign to oppose corporate personhood and pass the People’s Rights Amendment.


Last week, on Monday, November 16, Renée Loth moderated our panel at Harvard Law School on SpeechNow v.

Last week, on Monday, November 16, Renée Loth moderated our panel at Harvard Law School on SpeechNow v. FEC and ending Super PACs.  Loth is featured in today’s issue of The Boston Globe, discussing “The Birth of the Super PAC” and its relation to the 2010 SpeechNow ruling.

Roth quotes Harvard’s Professor Laurence Tribe, as well as other moments from our panel in her article. It begins:

“AMERICANS, IF YOUR postprandial football game or James Bond movie marathon is interrupted — again and again — by presidential primary ads on Thursday, do not blame Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened a gusher of campaign cash. Blame instead a little-reported lower-court decision argued just days after Citizens United, which gave rise to the phenomenon of the super PAC, and which the Supreme Court, surprisingly, has never reviewed.

The case, called SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, tested whether super PACs — committees that raise and spend money on behalf of candidates but do not coordinate with their campaigns — should be subject to the same kind of contribution limits (currently $2,700 per person) that apply to the campaigns themselves. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. seized on one sentence in the newly minted Citizens United decision to sweep away all limits on super PAC expenditures and, notably, on their contributions as well. As a result, a single, stunningly rich family can — and did — contribute $15 million to a committee supporting Republican Ted Cruz for president, an amount that would be illegal a thousand times over if the family contributed to Cruz directly.”

To read the Renée Loth’s article in its entirety, visit The Boston Globe.

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