March 18, 2019

Stop this renegade judge from creating “law” that will hurt YOU

Downsize DC is fighting a judge who thinks she has the power to legislate Retweet

A federal judge has gone beyond the written law to impose her preferences and burdens on you and the organizations you support, such as Downsize DC. The case is CREW v. FEC.  

This is a First Amendment case. In many ways, it relates to our expertise in not just non-profit, grassroots groups but also campaign finance law. We need your help to file an amicus curiae brief arguing that…

  • A federal judge does not have the power to go beyond the written law
  • Citizens have an inalienable, historical and constitutionally-protected right to engage in anonymous speech

Build this brief

The law currently requires organizations to publicly disclose the names of people who donate $200 or more to a specific IE (independent political expenditure) that advocates the election or defeat of a given candidate.

Bluntly speaking, IE is bureaucratic jargon for spending on behalf of a candidate that the candidate has no control over. But…

Judge Beryl Howell has now ruled that any organization making any kind of IE must publicly report all of its $200+ donors, even those who made no direct donation to an IE.

  • Congress did NOT authorize this requirement. Judge Howell invented it.
  • The FEC (Federal Elections Commission) rejected a chance to enforce this requirement. But the Judge is ordering them to do so.

This usurpation of power must not stand!

In addition, we’ve long argued that the reporting of campaign contributions should be voluntary. Voters could then penalize those candidates who fail to report, if that mattered to them. But legally compelled reporting creates a dramatic “chilling effect.”

  • Many people don’t contribute because they fear exposure and retaliation from their political enemies.
  • The cost of filing reports is most burdensome to small organizations. These increased compliance costs could easily keep an organization that’s sized-like Downsize DC from expressing its views, if the Judge’s ruling is allowed to stand.
  • When smaller groups are kept out, incumbents benefit most. They favor an easier path to re-election.

For these reasons and more, we have repeatedly argued in campaign finance cases that there is an inalienable constitutional right to anonymous speech. For example…

  • The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers were written anonymously.
  • Likewise, ballots are cast in solitude.

We think our freedom of the press argument, which prevailed in the Citizens United case, and our anonymous speech argument — both of which we’ve argued in amicus briefs before — are the keys to defanging the incumbent-protecting, campaign finance laws.

CREW v. FEC is our latest chance to fight this incumbent protection. Please help us file a brief in this case! Start a monthly pledge or make a one-time donation now!

I Support the Brief

DownsizeDC.org partners with the Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project) so that your contributions can be TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. When you click the button above, you’ll be taken to the Zero Aggression Project contribution form.

Thank you for being a SUPPORTIVE DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka, President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
& Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project)

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