National Journal Online

Appeals Court Broadens Citizens United Ruling

The US. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that is unconstitutional to impose limits on individual donations to organizations involved in independent expenditures in elections. In Speech Now vs the Federal Elections Commission, the court said that since the Supreme Court had ruled in Citizens United vs the FEC that there was no potential for corruption with independent expenditures, there is no reason to limit individual contributions to organizations like 527s. The Institute for Justice and the Center for Competitive Politics hailed the ruling as a victory for free speech.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 1:32pm

Courts Deal Blows To Reform Advocates, Critics

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday handed advocates of campaign finance reform a defeat and a victory, deciding 2 closely-watched cases that challenged the limits of campaign expenditures and contributions.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 12:49pm

Previewing Recess: The Dem View

Dems will tout their work in Congress during the Easter recess, embracing a new health care law and other key accomplishments, according to a memo distributed to House members as they leave for the week.

The memo, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, urges members to spend their time off highlighting stimulus legislation and jobs bills, along with laws that reform the student lending industry, help homeowners avoid foreclosure and promote job training.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 11:47am

John Paul Stevens: Troublemaker

Having gone through the health care debate, the last thing Dems want to do is take more tough votes. But the Senate could be in for at least one more battle this year if Associate Justice John Paul Stevens steps down.

In a recent profile, Stevens told The New Yorker he would retire within the next 3 years. But Court watchers are starting to believe the senior member and leader of the 4-vote liberal bloc is ready to retire to FL sooner rather than later.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 10:53am

GSA: Technology Key To Providing Better Service

General Services Administration chief Marth Johnson said Thursday that her agency will leverage technology solutions to better serve other federal agencies, Nextgov.com reported. GSA, which currently accounts for 13 percent of federal spending, could increase its sales if it were allowed to open its schedules to state and local jurisdictions or expand into new markets such as health information technology, Johnson said in a speech at FOSE, a government technology conference and security expo in Washington.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 10:51am

AFL-CIO Backs Patent Deal

The AFL-CIO has come out in support of a compromise version of patent overhaul legislation unveiled this month by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and ranking member Jeff Sessions, CongressDaily reported. In a letter Thursday to Leahy and Sessions, the AFL-CIO said it has been concerned with proposals to overhaul the patent system that it said would have reduced damages for infringed patents, made changes to post-grant review procedures that would have undermined confidence in patent validity, and required the publication of pending patents.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 10:31am

FCC Spent $20 Million to Produce Broadband Plan

The FCC spent a whopping $20 million to produce its 360-page national broadband plan -- a price tag that amounts to about $50,000 per page. "It took [the agency] about a year, I think, to develop this plan, so in effect, it's $50,000 a day," mocked House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee ranking member Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who requested the cost figure in a recent letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Stearns disclosed the tally during the panel's oversight hearing Thursday on the technology blueprint.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 10:28am

Google Urges Congress To Promote Free Expression Online

From this morning's Earlybird: • "Google Inc. told legislators that the U.S. government must support Internet freedoms, as Congress weighs bills that would deepen the government's role in advancing free expression on the Internet globally," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. • In Britain, "Scotland Yard is advising administrators of public Web spaces to periodically poke through their customers' files and keep an eye out for suspicious activity," AP reports.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 10:00am

Lincoln Under 50 In Primary

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) leads LG Bill Halter (D) in a primary matchup, but she's under the crucial 50% mark and Halter has room to grow, according to a new survey for the liberal DailyKos website.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 9:45am

Players Who Won In Health Care Debate

Top advocacy and lobbying stories from this week's National Journal: (subscription) "Who Won? How 25 Players Fared In The Health Care Debate:" Our cover story profiles 25 players including those in the interest group world including Karen Ignagni, head of America's Health Insurance Plans, Tom Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Howard Dean, the former Democratic candidate for president, Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union and John Podesta, head of the Center for American Progress.

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 - 9:00am