Citizens United v. the FEC: The Return of Corporate Influence Peddling?

Bopp's effort to help these clients has come in the form of nearly two dozen challenges to Federal Election Commission regulations, and more recently in the marquee cases he has tried to shepherd to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in recent years has seemed to be a more friendly venue for his cause.

"We're peeling back quite a few of these regulations and limiting their scope," Bopp noted.

Bopp's efforts have attracted support from conservative luminaries and wealthy GOP patrons. Tax records show the board of the James Madison Center has received at least $95,000 from the DeVos Foundation, $300,000 from the Kohler Foundation, and $170,000 from the Roe Foundation. Among its board members are David A. Norcross, who has served as the Republican Party's general counsel, and former Michigan Republican Chairwoman Betsy DeVos, whose husband ran for governor and chairs the DeVos Foundation.

Democrats Push Back

In a 1997 column in Roll Call that challenged the wisdom of McCain-Feingold, DeVos described her family as "the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party." Dick DeVos is the son of billionaire Amway founder Richard DeVos, while Betsy is the sister of Erik Prince, president of the company once known as Blackwater, now known as Xe.

Bopp has also had help from the U.S. Supreme Court itself. While he helped initiate the case brought by Citizens United, it was the Justices who asked the attorneys to expand its scope and scheduled a second set of arguments in September.

"In my view this case was literally put on the table by the justices," said Fred Wertheimer, one of the architects of the McCain-Feingold law.

When Citizens United was called back to argue the case a second time, they brought in former solicitor general Ted Olson to argue the case. Bopp watched from the gallery.

What is clear even before the court rules on the case is that the legal battle is far from over.

Democrats said Tuesday they are already deeply involved in planning for a legislative response, should the court ruling undo longstanding restrictions on corporate and union spending on television ads during the closing weeks of a campaign.

ABC News has learned that Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., have been talking with the White House and top Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias to plot out possible remedies that they can try to move through Congress in advance of the 2010 midterm elections.

"The risk here is that the decision will open the political floodgates to unrestricted special interest and corporate money," Van Hollen said. "If that's the case there will be a swift legislative response."

Bopp said he relishes the fight.

" In the face of the First Amendment, which says Congress shall make no law, there are a thousand pages of regulations," he said. "People run up against it all the time. In my view, they can either knuckle under or take a stand and sue."

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