International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Electoral Finance Bill’

Bizare match up of the day – Obama ends up supporting Jim Crow Laws!?!

Justice Thomas defended the recent decision to allow corporate influence in US elections.

He added that the history of Congressional regulation of corporate involvement in politics had a dark side, pointing to the Tillman Act, which banned corporate contributions to federal candidates in 1907.

“Go back and read why Tillman introduced that legislation,” Justice Thomas said, referring to Senator Benjamin Tillman. “Tillman was from South Carolina, and as I hear the story he was concerned that the corporations, Republican corporations, were favorable toward blacks and he felt that there was a need to regulate them.”

Now, I’m quite sure that Obama had no intention to support a law that was attacking blacks, and I’m sure he’s raised the minimum wage which was also originally intended to target blacks. (7th paragraph on the link)

It is thus a mistake, the justice said, to applaud the regulation of corporate speech as “some sort of beatific action.”

Justice Thomas said the First Amendment’s protections applied regardless of how people chose to assemble to participate in the political process.

“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association.”

“But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?” Justice Thomas asked, suggesting that the answer must be the same.

Asked about his attitude toward the two decisions overruled in Citizens United, he said, “If it’s wrong, the ultimate precedent is the Constitution.”

A good point.

The EFA here tried to limit private campaigns, but ended up missing the very Exclusive Brethren style campaigns it was intended to stop. That’s because any rich individual can mount their own campaign. If a group of average Joes want to mount a campaign want to do so, they have to join together.

HT: Gateway Pundit

So striking down these laws can be, in that sense, a win for the little guy!

The EFA was supposed to stop the Exclusive Brethern

Naturally, Idiot doesn’t like the US declaring their version of the EFA unlawful.

Last week, in a disastrous decision for American democracy, the US Supreme Court struck down third-party spending limits in federal elections. Writing in the Independent, Johann Hari points out exactly what that means:

So if you anger the investment bankers by supporting legislation to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, you will smack into a wall of 24/7 ads exposing your every flaw. If you displease oil companies by supporting legislation to deal with global warming, you will now be hit by a tsunami of advertising saying you are opposed to jobs and the American Way. If you rile the defence contractors by opposing the gargantuan war budget, you will face a smear-campaign calling you Soft on Terror.

Representative Alan Grayson says: “It basically institutionalises and legalises bribery on the largest scale imaginable. Corporations will now be able to reward the politicians that play ball with them – and beat to death the politicians that don’t… You won’t even hear any more about the Senator from Kansas. It’ll be the Senator from General Electric or the Senator from Microsoft.”

This is exactly the problem we saw in 2005 with the Exclusive Brethren, and exactly the problem we were trying to prevent here with the Electoral Finance Act.

I must have missed the “tsunami of advertising” that the Exclusive Brethren created. I do remember a tsunami of bad PR that had the exact opposite effect to what the EB intended, once it was revealed who was behind the few pamphlets that were distributed.

I also remember that the EFA didn’t actually end up restricting an EB style campaign very much at all.

Thanks to this decision, we are likely to get thoroughly educated in why such restrictions are necessary. In order to be meaningful, democracy requires a level playing field, where all voices can be heard. When the wealthy can just buy the outcome by drowning out (or threatening to drown out) all other voices, then the result ceases to be democratic.

Funny story: most people who share I/S’s viewpoint actually think that the old US law created such a situation. Not that they understood the old law, they just saw the effects and assumed the law was bad. It was deeply ironic how many of those opposed to supporting the EFA wrote submissions saying “we don’t want to become like the US”.

Oh, and it may or may not surprise people to learn that Obama lied through his teeth during his State of the Unions speech when it comes to the effect of the ruling.

Tonight the president engaged in demogoguery of the worst kind, when he claimed that last week’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, “open[ed] the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

The president’s statement is false.

The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making “a contribution or donation of money or ather thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election” under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any “expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication.”

This is either blithering ignorance of the law or demagoguery of the worst kind.

— Bradley A. Smith is Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School

Hedge Didn’t Breach EFA

Thank goodness we’ve had the end of this nonsense.

The Electoral Commission has ruled that a hedge pruned in a way that showed the word “green” was no a breach of the law.

The decision relates to the property of Aucklander Richard Green.

The commission found the hedge was similar to that of the logo of the Green Party.

It says the hedge carried no promoter statement, as was required under the law at the time, the Electoral Finance Act.

The commission found any potential breach would not have been wilful and it would not be in the public interest to pursue it further.

Ah yes, the “not willful” excuse. Seems to cover everything doesn’t it?

However, the Family Party has been referred to police. The commission found that two donations exceeding $20,000 from the same donor had not been declared in time.

Oh, except for minnows who don’t declare their donations in time. Seems a bit odd to have so many major parties escaping prosecution, and then clamping down on one of the smallest players.

Maybe they should have paid in hedge trimmings?

Kick the Dirty Dog

Labour’s EFA is like a tenant of a boarding house who’s dog craps on the carpet. They tell everyone that the carpet will be fine if no one steps on it, but then proceed to step in it themselves, then complain bitterly that no one was worried about it until National pointed out the stench.

The latest poo was laid by Steve Pierson, who only got off because he “thought” he was complying with the law.

But if you read his blog, you’d come away with the impression that he followed the law, and National are attacking Democracy & free speech. That’s the exact, precise opposite of what is actually happening.

Labour Caught By Own Law (Again)

There can be no doubt whatsoever that Labour never intended this to happen when they passed the Electoral Finance Act.

Labour Party signs have been removed from the front of the Dunedin South electorate office to comply with the Electoral Finance Act, Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope says.

Mr Benson-Pope was contacted yesterday after confusion from the public over the removal of the signs from the King Edward St office, which he shares with Labour MP for Te Tai Tonga, Mahara Okeroa.

“It is nothing anyone should let their imagination work overtime about,” he said.

The removal of party signage from electorate offices was “standard right across the country”, he said.

Here’s a small task for readers who might be interested – pop along to your local office, take a photo and drop it into the email. I’m interested if this is just a one-off or if Labour has had to take this humiliating step across the country!

EFA Strikes Again – Hard this time

This is funny, but somehow I don’t feel like laughing. It’s a sign of just scared the public should be of their current government and what they are prepared to do to stay in power.

I marched 3 times to support the rights of people and organizations including unions from this sort of restraint. I didn’t see any union organizers there.

The EMA ran the ads a few days before the parliamentary debate on the law change, and they did not mention voting – they encouraged people to lobby the Government and MPs. …

The EMA ran the ads a few days before the parliamentary debate on the law change, and they did not mention voting – they encouraged people to lobby the Government and MPs. The ad (copied from The Standard) is below:

I’m quite sure that at the back of the min of the Electoral Commission is the knowledge that Labour wanted this law to restrain it’s critics, while leaving it’s supporters able to speak. That won’t have changed the result much, just the satisfaction level!

The reality is that Labour know full well which side of the political spectrum is more likely to follow the law. They were counting on the same loose enforcement that got them off their $800,000 scam that they used to win the last election to get their mates off the hook, while using the respect their opponents have for the law to restrain them.

Funny how we’ve had another example of how Labour regards the law just today…

Update: Oops, the EMA is not a union, it’s the Employer’s organisation.

Silence the Workers!

The EMPU is up in arms at National’s attempts to have the law enforced.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) says the National Party’s latest bid to stop it being registered to take part in the election campaign is an attempt to silence workers’ voices.

Well, I guess they should have used their position of infuluence within the Labour party to stop the law in the first place – or are they now saying it isn’t anti-democratic?

As for the claims that National makes it so, what did you expect, cupcakes? You put in a law and your opposition will show it’s worst points.

Interesting actually that they don’t use the words “anti-democratic”. Maybe that’s an admission of something?

Only Opponents of EFA Respect it as Law

Disgusting, but predicted many, many times.

National, Act and the Maori Party – all of which opposed the changes to electoral law last year – are now the only parties which have not yet been ruled in breach of it, although Act MP Heather Roy was cautioned over a newsletter she produces.

Hat Tip Homepaddock.

EFA – As predicted

One of the biggest concerns from this side of the political spectrum was that the EFA would only constrain those who respected the law – that is to say, the right. This is due to our observation that traditionally, left wing protests aren’t too fused on obeying the rules.

Well, we were right. While even PowerPoint slides at the National Party conference had home address authorization, these guys were blatantly flouting the law written by their own party.

Labour Party stooges have broken the Electoral Finance Act by staging protest outside the National Party conference wearing mocked up rosettes that illegally display the National Party logo without permission or authorisation.

Front and centre amongst the protestors was Labour Party stalwart Sonny Thomas and surprise, surprise Labour party funded blogger Steve Pierson aka Clinton Smith. A complaint has been forwarded to the Electoral Commission.

What’s the bet that these clowns spent hours defending Labour’s actions in creating and passing this law, knowing all the while that they would ignore it when it suited them?

Post of the Day

Post of the day goes to Stephen Franks, pulling apart the decision of the Electoral Commission.

A purposive interpreter might have assumed that Parliament intended to stop third parties acting under the influence of, or in collusion with, or congruently in campaigning with the party. Such an interpreter might have given a wide meaning to “involved in” so that it impedes that two way coordination of plans and interests. Instead this interpretation says the literal words require that the involvement be by the EPMU in administering the party, and not the other way.

The decision will be a comfort for those who’ve been struggling to make sense of the Act. In effect this decision says don’t bother. If the words do not make sense in relation to the probable objectives of the Act, the Commission is not going to strain to find a way to turn nonsense into sense.


It’s hard to tell what’s worse. The EFA being so badly written, or the EC ignoring the parts that are inconvenient to the government.

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