Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Arizona Free Enterprise V. Bennett Explained"

Jessica Levinson's latest post on the Huffington Post is here.

Here is an excerpt:

This is a sadly ironic ruling. Far from chilling an open and robust debate, the ability of publicly financed candidates to obtain additional public funds to respond to privately financed opponents and independent expenditure groups actually promotes speech.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Supreme Court’s Arizona Free Enterprise / McComish decision chips away at states’ rights but leaves foundation of public financing for campaigns intact"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this release by California Common Cause about the Supreme Court's decision today re public campaign financing.

“Prior to today public financed jurisdictions had more discretion to determine when and how to provide public funds to candidates. The Court has now excluded one of the most efficient mechanisms through which jurisdictions provided candidates with taxpayer funds. However, there are still many legal avenues open to jurisdictions to design powerful public financing programs.” Stated Jessica Levinson, Visiting Associate Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School and consultant to Common Cause.

Jessica Levinson interviewed about the SCOTUS' decisions today

Jessica Levinson will be on Background Briefing with Ian Masters around 5:15pm today. Click here for more.

Breaking News: "Jury convicts ex-Ill. Gov. Blagojevich at retrial"

AP has more.

Summary of the SCOTUS decision re Arizona Public Campaign Financing

Jessica Levinson's summary of the Supreme Court's decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett on Common Cause's blog is here.

"Carmageddon: Coming to a Theater Near You"

Jessica Levinson's latest post on KCET.org is here.

There is one word that is familiar to all residents of the City of Angels: traffic. There are few other places in the world where it is perfectly reasonable to allot forty-five minutes for 3 mile drive in the middle of a workday. One of my Facebook friends recently posted that she spent 10 hours in the car over one weekend, and never left the city limits. That is sadly familiar news to too many of us.

Breaking News: The Court Rules that Rescue Funds Provisions are Unconstitutional

In a 5-4 decision the Court struck down the constitutionality of so-called rescue funds provisions in public campaign financing programs. Click here for more information on McComish v. Bennett.

Breaking news: The Court strikes down a law banning the sale of violent video games to minors

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Is the Party Over? Examining the Constitutionality of Proposition 14 as It Relates to Ballot Access for Minor Parties"

Jessica Levinson's latest law review article on the constitutionality of California's new open primary, top two election system as it relates to the ballot access rights of minor parties is here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Campaign Finance Ruling May Make NYC a Model for the Nation"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this story on WNYC.org.

If the Supreme Court rules against the Clean Elections program, a number of campaign public finance programs nationwide may be in for a redesign. Jessica A. Levinson ... said that because the Arizona case specifically targets trigger funds, it “will likely have long-reaching implications for other jurisdictions that have similar provisions.”

“Every jurisdiction that provides additional funds to publicly financed candidates in the face of either high spending, in the face of a privately-financed opponent or an outside expenditure group will have to reevaluate those provisions and probably take them off the books.”

“I think it is very likely that many jurisdictions, both on the local and state level, will look to the success of New York’s program and will adopt that kind of small-donor model where there is an initial amount of money that a candidate raises and then there is a high match,” said Levinson.

"Pavley, Waxman 'disappointed' by proposed redistricting"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article in the SM Daily Press.

"We are seeing lots of growth in the eastern parts of the state, like for instance the Inland Empire, which would traditionally have helped Republicans, but population growth in those areas has mainly come from Asians and Latinos, which tend to favor Democratic candidates," said Jessica Levinson ... "I think this could actually be a boon for Democrats."

"Santa Barbara City Council to reconsider controversial Brown Act vote; watchdog groups criticize Dale Francisco's comments"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article in the Daily Sound.

Jessica Levinson ... said she’d never heard of a legislative body advocating an "end-run" around the Brown Act. Being able to see how officials arrive at their decisions is almost as critical as knowing what those decisions were, she said.
"Government officials work for their constituents and I think their constituents have a right to know what they’re doing and how they’re making decisions," Levinson said.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Governor Jerry Brown: Unpredictably Consistent When It Comes to the Budget"

Jessica Levinson's latest article on KCET.org is here

The Golden State's once and current Governor, Jerry Brown, has made history with two firsts. First, Brown vetoed a budget agreement passed by both houses. Second, Brown kept his word. Brown's veto has been widely reported, but this morning, it was a smart column by the George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times that elucidated Brown's real surprise move - consistency.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Can Redistricting Improve California?"

You can find the video link to this panel discussion, moderated by Jessica Levinson, by clicking here. The all-star panel included Dan Schnur, Joe Mathews, Kathay Feng and Steven Ochoa.

"California nears budget deal to meet deadline. Critics pan it as 'gimmicks.'"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article.

“It looks like Gov. Brown's middle name will not be ‘no gimmicks,’ " says Jessica Levinson... “While Brown has for months and months pledged to pass a gimmick-free budget, he appears to be peddling back that hard line as the constitutional deadline for a balanced budget approaches."
   “While [Prop. 25] punishes legislators – by not paying them – for failing to agree on a budget, does it also force them to hastily rush to compromise?” Ms. Levinson asks.

"Uncertainty reigns as Jerry Brown vetoes 'questionable' California budget"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article in the CSM.

"Brown is sticking by his pledge to accept only a realistic, gimmick-free budget,” says Jessica Levinson,... “While some may say Brown is a glutton for punishment, only the next few weeks will show whether his veto will ultimately force the legislature to pass a budget more in line with his proposals.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

"All Access Pass for Campaign Contributors?"

Fox News has more.

"House Republican claims campaign finance exoneration"

The Hill has more.

"California's Budget Comes Down to Four Votes"

Jessica Levinson's latest article on KCET.org is here. 

Governor Jerry Brown continues his attempt pick off the four Republican votes needed to support his budget proposal. Specifically, Brown needs two GOP lawmakers in the Senate, and the same number in the Assembly to agree to his proposed budget, which includes temporary increases to sales, vehicle and income taxes. Brown's efforts have continued for so long that some may wonder whether this budget battle began in the last Gov. Brown administration. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"New district maps would reshape the Valley"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in the L.A. Daily News about California's new independent redistricting commission here.

Here is an excerpt:

"The new maps represent demographic change," says Jessica Levinson. "The maps create a district that reflects the demographic reality, that there are a lot of Hispanics living in the Valley."

"California redistricting - 'musical chairs with switchblades'"

Jessica Levinson's appearance on "AirTalk" on Southern California Public Radio (KPCC) about the new independent California redistricting commission is here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Redistricting in California

Jessica Levinson will be live on 89.3FM or www.kpcc.org at 10am PT talking about the new draft redistricting plans, to be released today.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"As if Citizens United wasn't bad enough..."

Jessica Levinson's radio interview regarding Citizens United and its implications is here

Here is a description of the show: 

Last week a federal judge overturned a century old ban prohibiting corporations from directly contributing to political candidates in US vs. Danielczyk. US District Judge James Cacheris based his ruling on the controversial Citizens United case arguing that if corporations are endowed with the same rights as people and people can contribute directly to political candidates then corporations should be able to do the same.
On today’s Last Call we spoke with attorney Jessica Levinsonabout the potential implications of last week’s decision. Levinson is Director of Political Reform at the Center for Governmental Studies and an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School. Her research includes campaign finance reform, ethics, ballot initiatives and redistricting. She also blogs for the Huffington Post.

"Should Lawmakers Go Without Pay?"

Jessica Levinson's latest piece on KCET.org is here

Here is an excerpt:

"Would you work harder, faster and better if you knew you would lose your pay? Or would you kick the deliberative process to the curb and make snap decisions in order to keep your salary coming? Lawmakers may now face that decision."

Friday, June 3, 2011

"The Edwards Indictment Explained: What Did Johnny Do? (Allegedly)"

Jessica Levinson's latest piece in the Huffington Post is here.

Will corporations be able to give campaign contributions to candidates?

Jessica Levinson be on WMNF radio talking about Citizens United and other campaign finance issues at 2:30pm PDT. 

Roundup on John Edwards Coverage Thus Far

Click on the following news outlets for more:

LAT, WaPo, and ABC.  

"Edwards Indicted Over Campaign Funds"

The WSJ has more.

More on the John Edwards Indictment

HuffPo has the breaking news piece and links to this AP article.

Breaking News re John Edwards

The former VP and Presidential candidate has been indicted on criminal charges by a federal grand jury.

WaPo has more on the face (pre-indictment) here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Poll: Californian Voters Want A Say in Budget Decisions"

Jessica Levinson's latest piece on KCET.org is here.

News from California: "Bill alerts officials to ethics investigations"

The AP has more

"The state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill requiring California's campaign watchdog agency to notify public officials that they are being investigated at least 24 hours before making the probe public."

"During Blagojevich’s testimony, it’s hard to avoid making faces"

The Chicago Sun Times has more

"The longer Rod Blagojevich stays up there on the witness stand at his trial, the more his act is wearing thin."

"California’s Lockyer Urges Pensions to Oppose Secret Political Donations"

Bloomberg has more

"California’s treasurer is urging the state’s two biggest public pension funds, with $391.1 billion of assets, to push shareholder initiatives requiring companies they invest in to disclose political spending."

News from Nevada: "Major Campaign Finance Reform Bills Pass Senate, Move Closer To Final Approval"

The Nevada News Bureau has more

"Two major bills seeking reforms to and transparency in Nevada’s campaign finance laws won approval in the Senate today and now must await review in the Assembly before they can go to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his consideration."

"FEC Seeks $67,900 Penalty Against Lawmaker’s Former Dealership"

Bloomberg has more.

Here's the scoop:

"The Federal Election Commission says a Florida car dealership formerly owned by U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan illegally reimbursed employees’ donations to his congressional campaigns." 

"Campaign finance laws at heart of John Edwards case"

The Miami Herald has more

"The main questions in a criminal case would be whether payments to Edwards' mistress and a campaign staffer were intended to keep his 2008 campaign alive, and whether he knew about them - substantive legal issues aside from the Edwards soap opera, which includes the affair while seeking the presidency as his wife battled cancer, conceiving a child with the mistress, and publicly denying paternity as an aide, Andrew Young, claimed it."

"Will Corporations Be Prohibited From Giving to Candidates After All?"

Jessica Levinson's latest piece on the Huffington Post is here.