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February 25, 2010


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The question here is whether money is speech, I would argue not.

I also think that this is grand standing intended to be a brush back pitch at SCOTUS for crowding the plate.

I don't think that it is intended to pass.

BTW, the idea that an absolute limit on campaign spending for a campaign, even by rich guys, might become the law of the land does not worry me so much.

I would say that if spending money is required for you to speak, then spending deserves some constitutional protection. Otherwise, the government can ban you from using your money to speak, which covers everything from buying a TV ad to paying for blog hosting to buying the materials to make signs and flyers. This isn't the same as saying "money is speech", so it leaves us with the task of drawing lines.

The least defensible restrictions are on individuals spending their own money on advocating for issues or candidates. I buy the anti-corruption argument for the current restrictions on campaign contributions by individuals. The most defensible restrictions are bans on corporations making donations to campaigns. And I think advocacy for candidates or issues by corporations falls in between the last two items, and requires even finer line-drawing. I was perfectly happy with banning corporations from advocating for candidates but protecting their speech on issues. Citizens United opens up a big, messy can of worms we probably will come to regret for the next 20 years.

I don't know if Dodd means for this to pass or not. I have to take it on the merits, and I think on the merits the amendment sucks. Why not craft a better one and try to pass it?

A cap on spending by the campaigns themselves doesn't bother me, either. A cap on spending by individual supporters of a candidate does.

Ah, commandante Dodd. No surprise.

Money is not exactly speech, it's the potential to make your speech heard and influence anyone.

"This amendment, if adopted, would mean that Congress and the states would have unchecked power to regulate "the amount of expenditures that may be made ... in support of or in opposition to" a candidate by anyone. That language doesn't apply to just corporations, it applies to real people."

That's not a bug, it's a feature, in the eyes of many Democrats and not a small number of Republicans. They don't want to be criticized or questioned or to be effectively challenged at election time. A seat in Congress should be, barring a scandal or crime, something akin to a peerage in 18th century Britain. We are supposed to shut up and do as they tell us. The ancient Greeks call this political philosophy "oligarchy"

And they wonder why Congress has an approval rating of 10 %.

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