Unlimited and Undisclosed: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Deregulate Political Spending

Common Cause’s report, “Unlimited and Undisclosed: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Deregulate Political Spending,” focuses on how one particular interest group has waged war on important campaign finance laws in order to allow more big money in our political system.

Research and Reports

Over the past decade, America has undergone a radical deregulation of political spending, with courts rolling back restrictions on corporate spending in place for nearly a century and dismantling the sweeping post Watergate reforms enacted by Congress and the states in the 1970s. While this dramatic shift follows changes in the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, the litigation groundwork that made it possible was laid by large, conservative Christian organizations under the legal leadership of James Bopp.

The report explores:

    • How religious right, anti-marriage equality, and anti-abortion organizations have served as plaintiffs in over 70 lawsuits challenging campaign finance laws over the last twenty years at the state, local, and federal level.
    • How James Bopp, a prominent conservative attorney, uses Republican and religious right organizations as a vehicle to derail campaign finance laws, including in high profile cases such as Citizens United and McCutcheon, which have contributed to the flood of money in our elections.
    • The political spending of religious right groups to support Republican candidates over the last two decades, and how it has increased since the Citizens United.
    • The work of religious right groups against disclosure laws that would require big political spenders such as the National Organization for Marriage and the National Right to Life Committee to disclose their donors who give for the purpose of influencing elections.