Rick Hasen's indispensable Election Law blog is reportingherethat the US Supreme Court is letting stand some legal limitations that discourage some candidate committee/outside group coordination. Writes Hasen:
“High Court Won’t Eye Challenges To Federal, State PAC Regulations”
The Supreme Court has let stand federal and state rules for political action committees, which faced new challenges in the wake of recent court decisions that rolled back other campaign finance regulations.
The move made it less likely the high court will make major changes in campaign finance law in the near future.
Now I'm not a lawyer, but I assume this is not good news for those who want to overturn Wisconsin law that bans some candidate/outside group coordination - - the law at the heart of the now-suspended John Doe II probe (timeline). Hasen quoted this section from the Appellate Court ruling which the Supreme Court let stand:
There is little guidance from other courts on examining coordination of expenditures, but we conclude that, at a minimum, there must be some organizational separation to lessen the risks of coordinated expenditures. Separate bank accounts and organizational documents do not ensure that “information  will only be used for independent expenditures.” Catholic Leadership Coal. of Tex. v. Reisman, No. A‐12‐CA‐566‐SS, 2013 WL 2404066, at *177 (W.D. Tex. May 30, 2013) (emphasis added) (“The informational wall [that plaintiff] asserts it can raise to keep its independent expenditure activities entirely separate from its direct campaign contribution activities is thin at best. This triggers the precise dangers of corruption, and the appearance of corruption, which motivated the Court in Buckley to uphold the challenged contribution limits.”). As discussed below, whether a group is functionally distinct from a non‐independent‐expenditure‐only entity may depend on factors such as the overlap of staff and resources, the lack of financial independence, the coordination of activities, and the flow of information between the entities.
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution.
The right, suburbanites say "No light rail for Milwaukee."
James Rowen's Bio
James Rowen, a writer and consultant, has worked for newspapers, and as the senior Mayoral staffer, in Madison and Milwaukee, WI. This blog began on 2/2/ 2007. Posts run also at various news sites, including The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Purple Wisconsin."