Institute for Free Speech

  (Redirected from Center for Competitive Politics)

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.[1] 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."[2]

Institute for Free Speech
FounderBradley A. Smith
United States
Formerly called
Center for Competitive Politics


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."[3] In October 2017, the organization changed its name to the Institute for Free Speech.[4]


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.[5]

The organization represented the plaintiffs in v. Federal Election Commission, the Court of Appeals decision that authorized the creation of Super PACs.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]


  1. ^ Warren, Michael (2014-06-05). "The Disclosure Police Target Walmart". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  2. ^ "About the Institute for Free Speech". Institute for Free Speech. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. ^ Cummings, Jeanne (2008-08-12). "Conservatives plot on campaign finance". Politico. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  4. ^ Leathle, Emma (November 1, 2017). "Congress Holds Hearings On Online Political Ads". HuffPost. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Center for Competitive Politics blog", CCP, Retrieved on 2009-07-10.
  6. ^ [1].
  7. ^ "Give Us Your Donors, or Else". Wall Street Journal. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  8. ^ Newlin Carney, Eliza (2014-07-02). "Hobby Lobby Ruling Fuels Amendment Push". Roll Call. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  9. ^ Hicks, Josh (2014-06-18). "IRS to propose specific limits on nonprofits' political activities". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014.

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