Wendy Kaminer has a terrific takedown in the Atlantic of the latest silliness emanating from campaign finance “reformers”: a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to regulate corporate political speech.
It’s hard to find a favorite passage from this article, because practically every sentence is a gem. But if I had to choose, I’d go with her dissection of the mantra that “money is not speech”:
Put aside the fact that liberals never complain that money isn’t abortion rights when they lobby for medicaid funds or that money isn't the right to an attorney when they lobby for indigent defense funding. Instead, simply remember reformers’ claim that money isn't speech when they explain that restrictions on corporate expenditures are essential to democracy because monopolizing wealth enables corporations to monopolize speech. In other words, they implicitly argue, we need campaign finance restrictions because money is speech. But explicitly conceding that money is speech would require them to acknowledge an intent to limit First Amendment rights, to engage in arguments about the value of corporate political advocacy, and present compelling reasons for criminalizing it. That’s a debate advocates of reform want very much to avoid, which is why they also attack the notion of corporate personhood.
We’ve said it before; we’ll say it again: campaign finance reform is ultimately about censoring speech. Go read the whole article
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