Free Speech and Money

So the Supreme Court knocked down (large?) por­tions of McCain/​Feingold. Spend­ing is speech and Con­gress will make no law etc.

Gen­er­al­ly I am a lib­er­al, so I guess I am sup­posed to be out­raged that the Court did what it did.

But I am not out­raged. I applaud the deci­sion. I have felt for some time that all the reg­u­la­tion of cam­paign spend­ing is not con­sti­tu­tion­al. Now, I did not make a mis­sion out of try­ing to undo it (I do not look for­ward to all of the com­mer­cials), but I have long thought it made no sense.

Part of my prob­lem with cam­paign finance laws goes back to a uni­ver­sal truth. Cre­ate a rule and there will (imme­di­ate­ly!) be those out there look­ing for a way around the rule. This cre­ates anoth­er rule, and the process con­tin­ues ad nau­se­um. Soon (a long time ago), the reg­u­la­tions are so com­plex that it is sim­ply too easy to break them even with the best of inten­tions. All of that for rules that are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al in the first place and, lets face it, did not do much to keep mon­ey out of pol­i­tics as was intended.

I think any­one should be able to give as much mon­ey as he or she (or it) wants to give to any can­di­date desired.

The one catch I would have is that all can­di­dates must pub­lish who gave (with occu­pa­tion) and how much.

This kind of trans­paren­cy is part of the cur­rent scheme and is the one part that strikes me as effec­tive. I have on sev­er­al occa­sions lis­tened to a news sto­ry on how a giv­en can­di­date received a dona­tion from a sul­lied donor and the can­di­date returned the mon­ey. This works. And the inter­net makes it eas­i­ly doable. Post the info and the press and the blog­gers will let us know if there is cause for concern.

4 thoughts on “Free Speech and Money”

  1. And if mr sul­lied gives his bucks to mz clean, to give to the candidate ?

    Or some per­mu­ta­tion thereof…

  2. In that sce­nario, mz clean is not so clean, is she?

    And there has been (or can be) a law that pre­vents such an event (or per­mu­ta­tion thereof.…)?

  3. Well, I am upset about the Court’s deci­sion about cor­po­ra­tions now being able to spend what­ev­er they want on cam­paigns. I believe that does silence the ‘lit­tle guy.” How­ev­er, Oba­ma did prove that the voice of the aver­age cit­i­zen will be heard, if enough speak.

    Your com­ments do give me pause though because I too believe reg­u­la­tions can do more harm than good. But, then the gov­ern­ment needs to get out of it all-togeth­er. If there are rules, reg­u­la­tions or tax incen­tives, etc. to help the big guys, some­one has to help the lit­tle guy. I know one can’t go back, but I just wish the “too big to fail” groups had been allowed to fail. That might have pro­vid­ed some good sense in the future with­out regulations.

  4. Per­cep­tion being every­thing, in pol­i­tics, if she is per­cieved as being mz clean…

    And I thought the rea­son­ing was to get away from adding more “laws”.


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