Money and influence are never going to disappear from campaigns, and shouldn’t. Even if people couldn’t give to campaigns, big employers, big labor, celebrities and big media would all gain influence. Those with money would just find another way to influence government. They might instead look to buy media outlets, which are exempt from all campaign speech laws. Indeed, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos already bought The Washington Post.
As Churchill was trying to tell us, the alternatives are often worse. For example, some have expressed valid concerns about foreigners influencing our campaigns. There are indications the DNC emails may have been stolen by Russians. The Russians may well want to use them to influence the presidential race. But would that justify a ban on news coverage of emails hacked by other nations? Of course not.
Likewise, many of the cures touted for money in politics would restrict campaign speech by citizens. Yet none of the emails currently causing controversy implicates independent campaign speech.
Paying for campaign spending is the worst possible use of our tax dollars. The Democracy Credit program would be capped at $12 million, yet that’s $12 million that could go toward any other, far more valuable purpose. If the funding for roads, schools, or other state services were ever jeopardized, at least we’d have glossy fliers and television ads promoting Joe Blow’s latest run for public office, right?
That’s not how politics should function. South Dakotans don’t need a “stimulus package” to get involved in doing our civic duty or supporting causes. We’re in the ranks of states with strong levels of voter turnout. Pouring our money into elections won’t change that level of engagement.
Instead, it’ll just create opportunities for would-be politicians or incumbents to game the system. That’s how it works out in other states with public election financing. As the Center for Competitive Politics puts it, taxpayer-funded elections “exacerbate election fraud and facilitate new and creative forms of campaign finance corruption[.]”
Christopher Smart Allen Dickerson, an attorney for the Center for Competitive Politics, which represented the plaintiffs, warned the law would have a chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech. “Utah’s law is so overbroad that our clients were concerned that participating in any public debate could destroy the privacy of their donors, many of whom believe […]
Associated Press The Utah Attorney General’s Office said in a settlement Wednesday that organizations will have to report donations from political advocacy groups, but requiring more disclosure would be unconstitutional. The settlement comes after three nonprofits challenged the law, saying forcing them to reveal donors violates their freedom of speech. Groups like the Utah Taxpayers […]
Bradley A. Smith Americans are rhetorically in love with the idea of “transparency,” but Strassel shows that whether the next President is Mr. Trump or Ms. Clinton, it is mandatory disclosure that makes the intimidation game work. That is how the government and its private sector allies know who to target. Originally intended to help […]
Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones Groups simultaneously funding Republican and Democratic super political action committees are becoming increasingly common, a Bloomberg BNA analysis of Federal Election Commission reports has found. Rather than giving to support a single candidate, issue or party, more donors are giving to support both sides of the aisle through outside spending… But, David Keating, […]
Matea Gold Conservative activist David Keating, who launched the case that created super PACs, is not concerned a new legal effort will succeed in shutting down the big-money groups. “I think they’re here to stay, because it’s basically Americans getting together and speaking about the government,” Keating said. Super PACs are the product of SpeechNow.org […]
Washington Post: The man who helped create super PACs says they’re here to stay July 8th, 2016 By Matea Gold https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/08/the-man-who-helped-create-super-pacs-says-theyre-here-to-stay/ Conservative activist David Keating, who launched the case that created super PACs, is not concerned a new legal effort will succeed in shutting down the big-money groups. “I think they’re here to stay, because […]
Legal News Line: Two separate yet similar lawsuits against Calif. AG Harris: One wins, one loses (In the News)
Kerrie Hatcher “In both the CCP and AFP cases, the AG argued that reviewing donor information is important to its task of rooting out fraud and abuse, that reviewing the information will help the office flag irregularities. The problem is, no one from the Attorney General’s office has been able to substantiate this claim that […]
New York Daily News: New York vs. the First Amendment: New ‘campaign finance’ legislation is an assault on political speech rights (In the News)
David Keating Once again, the fix is in from Albany. On June 18 at 1:45 a.m., politicians introduced a bill to regulate your speech. It passed both houses of the Legislature by 5 a.m. There were no hearings and no input from the public. There was no recorded floor vote in the Senate or the […]