Legal help wanted
The Make Your Laws group (MYL) has a number of interesting legal issues to deal with, ranging from very practical near term issues like a soon-to-be-filed FEC advisory opinion request, through to the complex long-term design of creating systems for citizen-legislators to create legislation of the same quality, deliberative nuance, and historical perspective as any LAO's legal drafting service can provide.
Some of our issues are unusual because they are on the edge of current technology and legal rulings; others come about through the intersection of a 527 Super PAC campaign fundraising conduit organization (MYL PAC), 501(c)4 issue advocacy organization (MYL C4), a 501(c)3 non-partisan voter education organization (MYL C3), and an open source, non-partisan ethos.
Whether you're a practicing attorney, law student, paralegal, or just possess good Google-fu and no fear of legal documents, we can use your help.
For instance, consider any of the following questions:
- Considering Ni v Slocum, Anderson v Bell, Lord v Bell 20110259-SC, and Utahns for Ethical Government v Barton et al 20120594-SC, how can MYL C4 enable its users to sign voter initiative qualification petitions in as close to a seamless online experience as possible, with a minimum of cost and hassle, while maintaining compliance with the courts' readings of current California and Utah law? How could MYL C4 argue to overturn this case before a higher court? Alternatively, how could MYL C4 draft an initiative to modernize it?
- Could the 10th Amendment "or to the people" clause justify an absolute constitutional right to voter initiative even for residents of the half of states that have no such right in their state constitution?
- Considering 11 CFR 110.4(c)(3), 11 CFR 104.13(b), and the Bank Secrecy Act, how can MYL PAC, MYL C4, and/or MYL C3 argue to the FEC and/or FinCEN that it is permissible for them to accept contributions of Bitcoin?
- Considering 11 CFR 110.20 in the context of FEC advisory opinions (AOs) 1987-25, 1981-51, 1989-32, and 1984-41, what would be a good bright-line ruling for MYL C4 to propose to the FEC, specifying which voter initiative committees may or may nor receive foreign national contributions?
- How can MYL C4 give user-legislators adequate context on any given proposed legislation across a very wide range of possible topics, such that they know a) what the most salient issues are within it, b) what the various implementation options are for those issues historically (and what novel methods they might adopt), and c) what the comparative outcomes of similar legislation have been previously?
- Considering 11 CFR 110.4(b), is it permissible for MYL PAC to give its contributors the ability to contribute money as an 11 CFR 110.6 earmark whose target is chosen by a third party proxy of their choice? Is it permissible for an elected legislator to act as a purely functionary proxy for their constituents' wishes, expressed through a liquid democracy enabling website, without constituting an impermissible delegation of legislative power?
- Considering 11 CFR 110.6(d)(2), FEC AOs 2006-30, 1986-04, 1981-57 and 1980-46, Buckley v Valeo, 18 USCA 1951(b)(2), and US v Brock, is it permissible for MYL PAC to give its contributors the ability to earmark a contribution in the form "$100 to Senator A's campaign committee if A votes for Senate Bill 1, but to A's opponent's if A votes against it"?
- Considering 11 CFR 114.5(j) and that MYL PAC will want to conduit users' contributions to SSFs, how can MYL PAC argue to the FEC that they should overturn AO 1983–38 and permit SSFs to passively confirm (e.g. when asked or on a FAQ page) that they are permitted to accept such contributions?
- How can MYL PAC, MYL C4, and MYL C3 have joint website, open source code, employees, etc., without violating any FEC or IRS restrictions on contributions between 501(c)3s, 501(c)4s, and PACs, as well as being compatible with the standards of the Open Source Initiative and good non-profit governance? What other PAC/C4/C3 triads exist, how do their websites permit users to contribute to any of the three, and how do they distinguish among themselves without violating IRS TAM 2009-08-050?
These are just a representative few of the questions we have to deal with. If they sound interesting to you, and you'd like to assist with legal research, brief and contract writing, legislative drafting and analysis, etc., please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.