Opponents of Texas’ voter ID law have not provided any concrete evidence that black and Hispanic voters were burdened by the controversial requirement that voters present government-issued identification at polling places, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller told the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday. During oral argument in front of a three-judge panel Tuesday morning, Keller said the plaintiffs in the case were offered up unprecedented discovery, including emails from legislators, yet failed to find proof that the legislators had discrimination in mind when crafting the bill.
“The legal system has the tools to deal with police brutality, but a destructive mob seeking to delegitimize that process is a whirlwind that threatens the rule of law and civil rights. . . .
If Attorney General Loretta Lynch wanted to differentiate herself quickly from her predecessor, she would also investigate and prosecute those who engaged in the racially motivated attacks on citizens during the riots while she investigates the death of Freddie Gray. That would be one way to bring Americans together, rather than continue policies of division.”
Despite the fact that this upcoming election is predicted to be the most expensive ever, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton’s team has been forecasted to raise more than $1 billion, Ryan said he has strong concerns that reining in campaign spending could have a “chilling effect” on free speech. If donors had to disclose their identities when they gave to charitable groups or some nonprofits, he fears that individuals could be retaliated against for expressing themselves politically.
I see an attempt to infringe on First Amendment rights, to give some people more tools to harass citizens from participating in democracy and expressing themselves, and I don’t think that is a good thing,” Ryan said during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday morning. Link to National Journal
The New York Times: The leader of the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with regulating the way political money is raised and spent, says she has largely given up hope of reining in abuses in the 2016 presidential campaign, which could generate a record $10 billion in spending. “The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim,” Ann M. Ravel, the chairwoman, said in an interview. “I never want to give up, but I’m not under any illusions. People think the F.E.C. is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional.”
Republicans see it differently.
Republican members of the commission see no such crisis. They say they are comfortable with how things are working under the structure that gives each party three votes. No action at all, they say, is better than overly aggressive steps that could chill political speech. … Mr. Goodman said the problem was exaggerated. He and other Republicans defend their decisions to block many investigations, saying Democrats have pushed cases beyond what the law allows.
Under the proposed legislation, the state would provide, at no charge, a state ID to anyone who cannot afford one. Rep. Brenner told PJ Media that even though there could be 40,000 people a year who qualify for free ID cards, “The most it would cost the state is $150,000, according to the Legislative Service Commission analysis. That’s really a drop in the bucket to secure our elections.” Brenner said they’re also considering adding a provision that would pay for birth certificates for those who cannot afford them. “If someone needs a birth certificate and they’re indigent, we may also have the state pay for that so there will be absolutely no excuse for anybody not getting a photo ID,” he said. Link
I wouldn’t hold your breath if you are a Ohioan and hoping for photo ID reforms. The legislature, particularly the Senate, is just not serious about passing it.
Link to National Review. Cleta Mitchell, one of the most experienced campaign-finance lawyers in Washington, who regularly practices before the FEC, told me that this forum is an “absolutely outrageous and complete departure from anything and everything the Federal Election Commission has ever done.” She adds that it is clearly outside the scope of the FEC’s statutory authority and that “it is not the agency’s role to pick winners and losers, to decide that some candidates are more worthy than others, or anything of that nature.”
The chairwoman of the supposedly nonpartisan Federal Election Commission is under fire for planning a forum next month on women in politics “stacked” with Democrat-leaning speakers and apparent Hillary Clinton supporters. One conservative lawyer already is calling for an inspector general investigation; another group is urging Chairwoman Ann Ravel to call off the event. Link