June 11, 2012

Hmmm Bopp: Citizens United Architect Loses His Republican National Committee Seat

Hmmm Bopp: Citizens United Architect Loses His Republican National Committee SeatIndiana lawyer Jim Bopp has done a lot to push the Republican National Committee (RNC) in a more conservative direction since he became a member in 2006. He proposed a “Republican litmus test” that would require candidates to meet at least eight of 10 core conservative principles (i.e. opposing amnesty for illegal immigration and same-sex marriage) in order to receive funding from the RNC. He was behind a resolution that would ask the Democratic Party to change its name to the “Democrat Socialist Party.” But perhaps most historically significant was the work he did outside of RNC auspices — as a lawyer for Citizens United, the nonprofit behind the most infamous Supreme Court campaign finance decision in recent history.

Today, the Indianapolis Star reports that Bopp is out as one of Indiana’s representatives to the RNC, replaced by John Hammond, the Indiana Republican Party’s chairman in Indianapolis:

Here’s what’s turning heads: Hammond, who is close to Gov. Mitch Daniels and is adept at raising political cash, defeated conservative legal icon Jim Bopp, a Terre Haute attorney who had sought re-election…

A news release issued by the state party made only brief mention of Bopp, instead focusing on the new RNC members.

Mother Jones calls Bopp “the man behind Citizens United”:

Citizens United was the culmination of years of work by Bopp to chip away at the nation’s campaign-finance regulations, often via obscure cases no one expected him to win. But Bopp’s not done—not by a long stretch. Today, the 63-year-old lawyer is pursuing challenges to dismantle practically every facet of campaign-finance regulation. Taken individually, many of those cases look just as preposterous and doomed as Citizens United did in 2008. But laugh at your peril.

We don’t know what led the Indiana Republican Party’s central committee to replace Bopp. We would love to believe that it represents concern about Bopp’s efforts to build a world of unlimited money in politics. But we worry that the move only gives Bopp more time to advance that troubling vision.