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Will SCOTUS Make The "Right Ruling For The Wrong Reason"? Ron Fein Explains To The Sacramento Bee

In a new piece published today in the Sacramento Bee, Ron Fein provides analysis on the upcoming case Los Angeles v. Patel. 

A case before the Supreme Court about hotel guest registers and the Fourth Amendment has gained the attention of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other corporate heavy hitters, who believe the protection of the Fourth Amendment should extend to all business records. The case involves a Los Angeles ordinance that makes hotels keep detailed guests registers, and make those registers available to the Police department at any time.

But the hotel operators say this ordinance violates the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Some in the corporate world are framing the case the wrong way by claiming the law violates the Fourth Amendment rights of the businesses—not those of hotel guests. 

The Supreme Court might make a big mistake in making the right ruling for the wrong reason. Our friends at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have more information on case here

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Jeff Clements Speaks In San Francisco On Inspiring a Grassroots Movement To Amend the Constitution

On Tuesday, February 24, the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society in San Francisco hosted Jeff Clements for a special conversation on how to amend the Constitution and reclaim democracy from special interest groups. Five years after the Citizens United ruling, the movement to get money out of our politics is growing, but so is the threat of unchecked coporate power.

How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking


Speaker John Boehner has close ties to the American Action Network, a dark money nonprofit, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC. These groups raise funds from clients of lobbyists looking to increase their own influence. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Paul Blumenthal and Ryan Grim tell Huffington Post "The Inside Story Of How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking". In this important piece, we learn the direct impact the Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling has had on the flow of money in Washington and its influence on decision making. 

Blumenthal and Grim explain, "Politically active nonprofits, known as "dark money" groups for their ability to shield the identity of donors, and super PACs, which take unlimited sums of money but must disclose donors, have become dominated by lobbyists and other political operatives with close ties to leaders in Congress. Meanwhile, businesses with issues before Congress are pumping increasingly more money into the lobbyist-connected organizations."

There's a lot more to this story. Read the full article here. 

Victory In Chicago!

Yesterday, on February 24, Chicagoans went to the polls and 80% of voters (and counting) took a stand against the corrupting influence of big money. Voters in Chicago voted "YES", in favor of small-donor focused reform that would put the power of politics back in the hands of the people.  

Great News From Maine—Maine Secretary Of State OKs Clean Election Signatures

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections aims to provide candidates with access to more cash so they can better compete with their privately financed opponents.

Maine’s secretary of state says a group hoping to strengthen the state’s clean public-financing elections law has submitted enough signatures to put its proposal to voters.

Stamp Stampede Talks Money In Politics On CNBC

Check out this clip of Ben & Jerry's co-founder and StampStampede.org founder Ben Cohen, stamping money out of politics on CNBC.


President Obama: "I’d Love A Constitutional Amendment To Reverse Citizens United"

President Obama spoke with Vox Editor-in-chief Ezra Klein on how to best reform campaign finance, amongst other topics. 

On "unlimited money" in politics as a key cause of polarization, Obama said, "I would love to see some constitutional process that would allow us to actually regulate campaign spending the way we used to, and maybe even improve it."

Watch the full interview above and read more on Vox.

Free Speech For People and Represent.US Working Towards Publicly Funded Elections in Cambridge, MA

Ron Fein testifying before the Cambridge City Council

Justice Ginsburg Would Reverse Citizens United

On February 4, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke to Georgetown University Law Center on her life and career, among many other issues of the law. In response to a question about the one decision she would reverse if she had a "magic wand", Justice Ginsburg responded it would be Citizens United. She also commented on redistricting and voter participation, and said that we need "a democracy for all."

Watch Justice Ginsburg discuss Citizens United in the clip below via C-SPAN.  

A Bold Step Forward In Challenging Citizens United

Recently, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), announced new legislation to limit corporate felon's ability to influence elections. We proudly support Representative Ellison's work and acknowledge it is an important step toward undoing the damage of the Citizens United decision. 

Today on Roll Call, our Legal Director, Ron Fein writes of the proposed legislation as "a bold step forward in challenging Citizens United."

Read the full article on Roll Call

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