Friday, October 15, 2010

Court side seats?

This story from Inc. Magazine provides a quick run down on five cases being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming session that "could change your business."

Does anyone do this from the perspective of nonprofits or philanthropy? Given the potential impact of the Citizens United case on donor transparency it would be great if there were a legal expert or two (or dozens), and/or some great journalists, who could point us lay folk to issues that might matter.

Here are some links I'm collecting on the Citizens United case. I also intend to speak to some nonprofit law specialists and some attorneys who specialize in campaign law to try to better understand all this. If you are such an attorney and would like to discuss this please email me.

  • Terry Gross, Fresh Air, speaking with Peter Stone, Ken Vogel, and Lee Fang.
  • The New York Times on Justice Thomas's wife's nonprofit activity;
  • The New York Times on Democracy 21's request for IRS investigation of Crossroads GPS
  • The NYT on political ad buying by nonprofits
And I follow ALL of the work that The Sunlight Foundation and its Reporting Group are doing. (If Sunlight has a groupie it's me!) They help me learn about the process of increasing transparency, they put forth some of the latest, coolest tools for making data meaningful, and they are really smart about the ins and outs of donor transparency in politics, which are not entirely the same as the questions of donor transparency in civil society.

If you know of anyone or any organization that does this, or even some way a layperson, non-lawyer, non-journalist blogger with a full-time job (i.e., yours truly) could do this, please let me - and the rest of us - know in the comments. I did find SCOTUS blog and SCOTUS wiki and will see if I can make sense of this incredible resource, but if you know others please send them on.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some sense of the magnitude of dollars flowing to competitive races as a result of Citizens United, read Glenn Greenwald's piece here, and be sure to click through and read the email from a UT professor he links to. Chamber of Commerce ($75 million), Rove's two groups ($65 million), is huge, when targeted at 30 or so key races. When targeted, that $1-3 million or more can be a huge influence on a race.

Also, for good legal analysis of Citizens United and impact on nonprofits, see Greg Colvin's piece recommending a path for IRS to follow to clarify rules, from Gene Takagi's "Tweets of the Week) - GTak: Political Tax Law After Citizens United: A Time For Reform by @GregLColvin