Institute for Free Speech

SOURCE:  Wikipedia, captured 2020-06-26

  • Formation: 2005
  • Founder: Bradley A. Smith
  • Type: Nonprofit
  • Legal status: 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization [not required to disclose donors]
  • Location: Alexandria, Virginia
  • Region: United States
  • Website:
  • Formerly called: Center for Competitive Politics

  • See also [2020-06-26]:  FEC losing quorum again after Caroline Hunter resigns.  The federal government's elections watchdog just reestablished a quorum last month [2020-05].

  • See also [2020-06-30]:  With FEC again defanged, Trump's latest nominee likely to face opposition.

    The Institute for Free Speech (IFS), formerly called the Center for Competitive Politics, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. IFS' mission is to "promote and defend the First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government through strategic litigation, communication, activism, training, research, and education."


    The Center for Competitive Politics was founded in 2005 by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley A. Smith. Smith opened the organization with the goal of "challenging the current campaign finance system in both federal court and the court of public opinion." In October 2017, the organization changed its name to the Institute for Free Speech.


    The organization has been particularly active in criticizing campaign finance regulations, taxpayer-financed political campaigns, and restrictions on referenda and ballot initiatives. The organization publishes various studies and reports on election related matters, and provides pro bono legal counsel to parties in suits challenging the constitutionality of election statutes. It has also defended the right of independent groups to participate freely in the electoral process.

    The organization represented the plaintiffs in v. Federal Election Commission, the Court of Appeals decision that authorized the creation of Super PACs.

    In 2014, the organization challenged California's requirement that nonprofit groups must turn over their donor lists to the state in order to receive a license to solicit contributions from residents of the state.

    The organization has stated its opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment, authored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Michael Bennet, that would give Congress more power to regulate political spending. The organization has also opposed proposed Internal Revenue Service guidelines that would redefine tax rules for social welfare organizations that engage in political advocacy as a secondary activity.

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