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Bradley A. Smith


Bradley A. Smith was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President William Clinton on February 9, 2000, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 24, 2000.

Prior to his appointment, Smith was Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, where he taught Election Law, Comparative Election Law, Jurisprudence, Law & Economics, and Civil Procedure. Smith’s writings on campaign finance and other election issues have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Legislation, the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy, and other academic journals. As a law professor, Smith was a much sought-after witness in Congress on matters of campaign finance reform, and also a frequent guest on radio and television and a contributor to popular publications such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Prior to joining the faculty at Capital in 1993, he had practiced with the Columbus law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, served as United States Vice Consul in Guayaquil, Ecuador, worked as a consultant in the health care field, and served as General Manager of the Small Business Association of Michigan, a position in which his responsibilities included management of the organization’s political action committee.

Commissioner Smith received his B.A. cum laude from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and his J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School.




SWORN IN: June 26, 2000, by U. S. Court of Appeals

Judge James L. Buckley

TERM: April 30, 2005

Statements and opinions

Advisory opinions

  • Comments in Support of an Alternative Draft in Advisory Opinion 2003-37, Americans for a Better Country (PDF)
  • Concurring Opinion, AO 2003-25, Jonathan Weinzapfel (PDF)
  • Concurring Opinion, AO 2003-10, Rory Reid (PDF)
  • Concurring Opinion, AO 2002-09, Target Wireless (PDF)
  • Dissenting Opinion, AO 2001-09, Senator Bob Kerrey (PDF)
  • Dissenting Opinion, AO 2000-16, Third Millenium (HTML)


  • Statement for the Record, Certification of public funds to Patrick J. Buchanan and Ezola Foster -- LRA# 598 & 599 (HTML)


  • MUR 5467, Michael Moore, August 3, 2004 (PDF)
  • MUR 5275, Friends of David Fink, March 30, 2004 (PDF)
  • MUR 5181, Spirit of America and Ashcroft 2000, December 12, 2003 (PDF)
  • MURs 4831 & 5274, Missouri Democratic State Committee and Nixon Campaign Fund, respectively, December 1, 2003 (PDF)
  • MUR 5154, Sierra Club, Inc., December 2003 (PDF)
  • MUR 5315, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., September 25, 2003 (PDF)
  • MUR 5338, Leadership Forum/ Democratic State Party Organizations, April 2003 (PDF)
  • MUR 5215, Ohio Right to Life, May 9, 2002 (PDF)
  • Pre-MUR 395, College Republican National Committee, May 2002 (PDF)
  • MUR 4624, The Coalition et al., September 2001 (HTML)
  • MUR 5060, American Legion Magazine, 2000 (PDF)
  • MUR 4922, In re Suburban O’Hare Commission, 2000 (PDF)
  • MUR 4920, Kind for Congress Committee, 2000 (PDF)

Rulemaking and litigation

  • Remarks, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Political Committee Status, March 4, 2004 (PDF)
  • Chart, "The Facts About the Federal Election Commission's Rules on Soft Money," 2002 (HTML)
  • Statement, Public Hearing On Prohibited and Excessive Contributions: Non-Federal Funds or Soft Money, June 4, 2002 (HTML)
  • Response to Request of Sen. McCain et al. for Recusal from Implementing Regulations for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, April 16, 2002 (HTML)
  • Statement on Coordinated Spending Regulations at Open Meeting, November 16, 2000 (HTML)

Media and appearances


  • Response to Questions from Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, United States Senate, Washington, DC, August 13, 2004 [PDF]
  • Article, "Enron Didn’t Corrupt Washington," Wall Street Journal, p. A22, February 12, 2002 (Link not available)
  • Article (with Stephen M. Hoersting), "A Toothless Anaconda: Innovation, Impotence, and Overenforcement at the Federal Election Commission" 1 Journal of Election Law 145 (2002) [PDF]
  • Article, "Reform Tramples First Amendment," American Legion Magazine, October 2001 (Link not available)
  • Robert E. Henderson Constitution Day Lecture, "Constitutional Values and Constitutional Interpretation," John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, Ashland, OH, September 17, 2001 [HTML]
  • Article, "Free Speech Costs Money: On Campaign Finance, Let’s Get Down to Cases," Wall Street Journal, p. A14, March 29, 2001 (Link not available)
  • Article, " No Power to the Little Guy," Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2001 (Link not available)
  • Article, "Block those Limits," Newsday, p. B4, March 18, 2001 (Link not available)
  • Article, "Hamilton at Wits End: The Lost Discipline of the Spending Clause vs. the False Discipline of Campaign Finance Reform," 4 Chap. L. Rev. 117 (2001) (Link not available)
  • Commentary, "'Sham' Issue Ads and Sham Campaign Reform," May 26, 2000 [HTML]


  • Commencement Speech, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, May 20, 2004 [PDF]
  • Speech, "Review of 2004 FEC Accomplishments," Washington, DC, December 16, 2004 [PDF]
  • Speech, Ohio State Universty, Moritz College of Law, Columbus, OH, September 15, 2004 [PDF]
  • Remarks at FEC Regional Conference, Tampa, FL, February 12, 2004 [PDF]
  • Speech, "The Impact of McConnell v. FEC on Corporate Political Activity, American Conference Institute, Washington, DC, January 29, 2004 [PDF]
  • Speech, "Regulation and the Decline of Grassroots Politics," Catholic University Law School, Washington, DC, February 23, 2000 [HTML]


  • Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, United States Senate, Washington, DC, July 14, 2004 [PDF]
  • Testimony Before the Committee on House Administration, United States House of Representatives, Oversight Hearing on the 527 Rulemaking Process, May 20, 2004 [HTML]
    • Summary [HTML]
    • Attachment to Testimony (refers to p. 2-11) [PDF]