The Center for a New Democracy, a project of the Tides Foundation, was established in 1991 to promote democratic reform through research, public education, litigation, and community organizing and training. A particular focus was on public financing of elections and fair voting reforms. The CND existed until 1996, and Donna Edwards served as its director from 1994-1996.
The collection (NEJL 064) was donated to the NEJL in 1996, and it includes case files and other materials related to state ballot initiatives in favor of campaign finance reform in the mid 1990s: Missouri Proposition A (Carver v. Nixon and Shrink v. Maupin); Minnesota (Day v. Holahan); California (Pro-Life Council PAC v. Jan Scully); Colorado (Colorado Right to LIfe Committee v. Victoria Buckley, Secretary of State); Montana (Right to Life Ass., et al. v. Robert Eddleman, County Attorney); Maine (Maine Right to Life Committee v. Federal Election Comm.); Oregon (Center to Protect Free Speech, Inc. v. Oregon); Washington, D.C. (National Black Police Assn. et.al. v. DC Board of Elections and Ethics).
In addition, the collection includes a range of reports, pamphlets, and articles (gray literature) on campaign finances in various states and in the U.S., including statewide surveys of “American Attitudes Toward Money in Politics” conducted by Bannon Research on behalf of the Center for a New Democracy in Massachusetts; Montana, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California.
Of particular local interest are the materials related to Initiative 41, a 1992 ballot initiative in Washington, D.C. that limited contributions to $100 for the election cycle for district-wide races and $50 per cycle for Ward races. The Center for a New Democracy and the DC community group DC ACORN, a principal supporter of the initiative, undertook a study to analyze the early impact of Initiative 41 on elections in the District. The collection also includes case files from National Black Police Association v. District of Columbia, 108 F.3d 346, 348-49 (D.C.Cir.1997). The case challenged the constitutionality of the new D.C. law as imposing “unprecedented limitations on the right of individuals and groups to contribute, and of political candidates to accept, contributions in support of campaigns for elected public office.”
A collection inventory exists, and the collection can be accessed at Georgetown Law Library’s Special Collections reading room.