Is the Committee for Truth in Politics Legal?
I’ve put in calls to the lawyers listed in official documents for the Committee for Truth in Politics, the organization running ads that portray financial regulatory reform as “one big bailout.” One question I have: Is what they’re doing actually legal? Because by all appearances, the Committee is still engaged in legal action against the FEC, the aftermath of its series of 2008 ads against Barack Obama.
Interviewed that year by NPR, the Committee’s attorney, James Bopp — the same James Bopp who drafted the RNC’s “purity resolution” — argued that his group did not believe that disclosure laws were constitutional.
We believe that the U.S. Constitution protects them from having to file that report. The problem is having to file a report at all. To be regulated at all. To be accountable to the government at all.
In January 2009, the Committee filed an amicus brief on behalf of Citizens United, the conservative group that finally won its battle over corporate money in elections this year. I’ve posted that brief below. It’s pretty clear that Bopp’s group, stymied by federal regulations, went dark in late 2008 and turned its fire on the campaign finance infrastructure to make the case that groups buying political ads did not need to disclose their sources of funding. So how did they get off the ground again to run their new ads?
UPDATE: I just spoke with William Peaslee, the attorney who was the registered agent for the Committee in North Carolina. He’s not involved with day-to-day operations, but told me that there was a stay on the Bopp lawsuit until Citizens United came down. And we’ve started to see these ads since that decision came down.