Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith

Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law
Capital University Law School

Brad is one of the nation’s foremost experts on campaign finance law. He served as a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, resigning as of Aug. 21, 2005. Smith was elected as Vice Chairman of the Commission in 2003 and Chairman of the Commission in 2004.

A recent New York Times story referred to Smith as the “intellectual powerhouse” of the movement to roll back campaign finance restrictions. His 2001 book, Unfree Speech: the Folly of Campaign Finance Reform, was lauded by George Will as the year’s “most important book on governance.” Once called “the most sought after witness in Congress” on campaign finance issues, Smith has authored over 40 articles on campaign finance reform, appearing in academic publications such as the Yale Law Journal and Georgetown Law Journal, and popular publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Review. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Bill Moyers Journal, the Lehrer News Hour, Fox News Special Report, ABC News, Washington Journal, and numerous other national and local television and radio programs.

As an FEC Commissioner, Smith won plaudits for his integrity and refusal to put partisan interests ahead of his duties, as well as his steadfast support for free speech. For his honesty and integrity, the Wall Street Journal dubbed him, “the only honorable man in this bordello.” Smith now serves as the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School. He has won numerous awards for his scholarship and teaching, and is a past member of the Advisory Committee to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Election Law Journal, and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Smith also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Studies, is a senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute and is a member of the Board of Scholars of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Smith is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and Kalamazoo College and holds an honorary doctorate from Augustana College.

Blog Posts

“Really, really, really bad” — Why Trump hates Super PACs

If Super PACs had been abolished, that would have hurt Trump’s opponents. To the cynic, it should be no surprise that Trump remains critical of them.

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What Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Means for Free Speech Today

OK, so let’s say the $h!t finally hits the fan. Imagine that whomever you think would be the worst possible president has just been elected. Further, imagine that he has made…


Citizens Divided?


Anonymity: The Greatest Weapon Against Oppression

“Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority” – Justice Paul Stevens When we think of anonymity on the internet, we often think of the negatives. Trolls say horrible…

Does Citizens United Protect Your Freedom of Speech?

Has Citizens United protected your freedom of speech? Or has it made it so that our democracy is overrun by corporate interests?

Money in Politics

People worry whenever money and politics mix – but should they? Common wisdom suggests that large campaign contributions can corrupt politicians and disenfranchise regular voters. If this is true, then…

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

In early 2008, a group called Citizens United sought to air commercials for their documentary that was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton. This appeared to violate federal election rules…

Are Super PACs Good for Democracy?

What exactly is a Super PAC? Professor Bradley Smith, the former Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, brings some clarity to these controversial groups by taking a close look at…

Is Money Speech?

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Does that freedom extend to the way people spend…

Should the Government Track Your Political Activity?

Professor Brad Smith asks you to imagine the following scenario: at the height of the War on Terror, the government passes a second PATRIOT Act. This law would require you…