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Ciara Torres-Spelliscy
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Ciara Torres-Spelliscy is an assistant professor at Stetson University College of Law, teaching courses in Election Law and Constitutional Law. Prior to joining Stetson’s faculty, Torres-Spelliscy was Counsel in the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law where she provided guidance on the issues of money in politics and the judiciary to state and federal lawmakers. She was an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP and a staffer for Senator Richard Durbin.

Professor Torres-Spelliscy has testified before Congress, and state and local legislative bodies as an expert on campaign finance reform. She has also helped draft legislation and written Supreme Court briefs. She is the editor of the 2010 edition of the Brennan Center’s campaign finance treatise, “Writing Reform: A Guide to Drafting State and Local Campaign Finance Laws.” Her latest publication is Corporate Political Spending & Shareholders’ Rights: Why the U.S. Should Adopt the British Approach in RISK MANAGEMENT AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, Jalilvand & Malliaris, eds., Routledge, December 2011.

She researches and speaks publicly on campaign finance law as well as judicial selection. As well as publishing in law reviews, Professor Torres-Spelliscy has been published in the New York Times, New York Law Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Boston Review, Roll Call, Business Week, Forbes, Business Ethics Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, The Hill, Huffington Post, The,,, and the ABA Judges Journal. She has also been quoted by the media in The New York Times, The Economist, Newsweek on Air, The National Journal, USA Today, L.A. Times, Sirius Radio, National Public Radio, and NY1.

Entries by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

The Smart Alice Vote

(9) Comments | Posted April 19, 2015 | 4:35 PM

Highly educated women may be only a sliver of the American electorate, but they could hold the presidency in the palm of their hands. Here's why: There are more of them than ever and they seem to have different taste in political parties than their male counterparts. I'll call this...

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Can Lisa Simpson Become President?

(1) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 10:01 PM

So enough with the midterm election. That's so 2014. Who gets to be the next President? And could it be a real-life Lisa Simpson?

I know you Simpsons mega-fans are all ready to write me about the flaw in my headline since Lisa Simpson has already been elected president in...

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The Light Hiding Under McCutcheon's Bushel: Transparency

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 11:31 AM

As the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing today on dark money in politics featuring retired Justice Stevens, the political world is digesting the impact of the Supreme Court's latest adventure in campaign finance law, McCutcheon v. FEC, with great alacrity. This case, decided on April 2, allows...

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How Far Can the IRS Go in Regulating Political Ads by Nonprofits?

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 4:11 PM

The IRS is finally trying to give greater clarity to the public (and let's be honest, to their own bumfuzzled employees) about what counts as political intervention for nonprofits known as 501(c)(4)s. These social welfare organizations have been the vehicle of choice to slip dark money into politics...

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The Walking Dead Supreme Court

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 2:35 PM

What does the Roberts Supreme Court have to do with "The Walking Dead"? Zombies.

Since 2006, Chief Justice John Roberts and his trusty sidekick, Justice Sam Alito, have been busy making zombies of good election laws -- removing just enough that they are rendered brain dead, and yet leaving just...

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FCC Brings Sunlight to Elections, But the SEC Needs to Help, Too

(1) Comments | Posted April 27, 2012 | 4:08 PM

2010 was a dark, even apocryphal election during which much of the political spending was from groups who did not reveal themselves. In the 2012 election, we might just have a bit more transparency.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend...

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Could Connecticut Be the First to Get Serious About Shareholders Rights Post-Citizens United?

(3) Comments | Posted March 25, 2012 | 11:18 PM

Connecticut may be the mouse that startles the lion. Connecticut is a small state, but it has a strong record of leadership in addressing the trouble posed by money in politics. Now Connecticut may be the first state to take shareholder protections seriously post-Citizens United.

After a governor went to...

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Double Barrel Blast From Big Sky Country: Montana Rejects Citizens United

(40) Comments | Posted January 3, 2012 | 11:40 AM

On December 30, 2011, by a vote of 5 to 2 the Montana Supreme Court decided that Montana's ban on corporate political expenditures dating back to 1912 could stand. In a hard hitting decision, the U.S. Supreme Court's take on the role of corporate money in politics in...

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OWS Meets Citizens United

(12) Comments | Posted October 18, 2011 | 8:56 AM

I happened to be New York City on other business, but I could not avoid the lure of Zuccotti Park. So I got some poster board and markers, crafted a homemade sign and took the C train down to the park to talk to the New Yorkers camped...

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A Growing Consensus on What to Do About Citizens United

(127) Comments | Posted September 25, 2011 | 2:55 PM

Any professional boxer worth his salt will tell you the rules of the game matter. Fighters box in weight classes with specific rules like no hitting below the belt. It's boxing after all; not a gladiator match. Democracy could take a few lessons from boxing, especially now that corporations have...

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The Apocryphal Midterm Election

(2) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 12:48 PM

So what's it like to be a campaign finance reformer during the first election after Citizens United? Here's a typical day:

10:00 am. The phone rings. It's a reporter who wants to know about the spending in the midterm election. I point the reporter to for federal...

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Sexism & the Supreme Court Nominee

(8) Comments | Posted May 26, 2009 | 12:31 PM

When Hillary Clinton was a Presidential candidate, male commentators frequently said she couldn't be elected because she reminded men of their nagging wives.

Now, more than a year later, President Obama has nominated a woman, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Souter's retirement. Mindful...

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We Are Not AIG

(3) Comments | Posted May 13, 2009 | 10:55 AM

Last week's TARP stress test results reminded us to ask ourselves: now that the federal taxpayer owns nearly 80% of AIG, are AIG's interests ours? We own a quarter of Citibank; does that mean the bank's desires are now in sync with ours? Is Bank of America -- currently afloat...

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