More thoughts on Davis

This Week News published a CCP op-ed (link unavailable) on Davis v. FEC. Below are highlighted excerpts from the piece:

"On the surface, raising contribution limits is a welcome idea. Contribution limits restrict candidates’ ability to raise money and, consequently, impact their ability to communicate with the voters. So increasing the amount of money individuals may contribute to campaigns will in turn increase the ability of candidates to disseminate their message.

Unfortunately, as is often the case when government starts tinkering with First Amendment rights, the costs of upholding the Millionaires’ Amendment outweigh the benefit. Upholding the Millionaires’ Amendment would do grave harm to the First Amendment over the long term by expanding the government’s ability to regulate political speech…

Such an egalitarian justification would give Congress a new quiver with which they can pierce the First Amendment.  Government would be able to play the role of sound engineer and adjust the relative volume of certain speakers up or down to achieve preferred outcomes.

For example, New York City Council recently passed a law restricting the ability of anyone who has business before the city – like a zoning issue – to contribute to political campaigns. The city council, though, made one notable exemption. The council excluded labor unions from their list of restricted speakers. New York’s law is also under court challenge, but more laws like it could be put on the books if government is allowed to "level the playing field…

While the Millionaires’ Amendment applies equally to incumbents and challengers, often only the incumbent has a list of maxed-out donors whom they can ask for more money. If incumbents truly cared about political competition they would raise contributions for all candidates."