Campaign Contributions

In today’s Opinion Journal there is a piece on campaign finance titled: When Talk Isn’t Cheap.

“Campaign finance laws are increasingly becoming a tool to suppress political speech, and the courts are finally waking up to the danger.”

While the author is right about finance laws becoming a 1st amendment issue, I struggle with the notion that the courts are realizing that this is an issue.

Campaign finance laws are not new; currently we have on the books that politicians can not receive more than a specified dollar value from any one constituent. Isn’t that a violation of free speech? Shouldn’t any American have the right to donate as much as one wishes to any candidate? Why have the courts ignored this issue?

The reason for these limits may not seem obvious to us in the modern age when electronic reporting can easily be done but in a time not so long ago politicians were routinely “bought” by influential members of society. The campaign contribution limits were put in place to limit the influence a select minority of people on a politician.

Today it is much easier for politicians to openly and accurately disclose donation information if they truly wanted to but what fun would that be?

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