- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Campaign finance laws will prevent me from buying air time

Posted by: DonS ( USA ) on October 27, 1999 at 19:01:33:

In Reply to: That's incorrect posted by MDG on October 27, 1999 at 18:16:30:

: The First Amendment guarantees the right to free expression, but giving money is not of itself an expressive activity, no more so than cleaning up your front yard expresses your belief in cleanliness. Furthermore, even if you consider political donations the equivalent of speech, the courts have long held that expression can be limited by the State. For example, you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. If the State has a substantial interest in limiting speech (as in the public safety interest attaced to the "Fire!" example), then the courts will allow the limitation. In the instant case, the State has a demonstrably substantial interest in promoting a flourishing democracy; the current campaign contribution is corrupting our democracy, and so it is entirely constitutional for our Congress to limit and/or regulate the system of campaign financing. Public financing of campaigns would put all candidates on a level playing field without limiting the content of their expression.

Don: Campaign finance laws will prevent me from buying air time, preventing me from engaging in free speech. It is a direct violation of my First Amendment rights. Already, campaign finace laws have been used in attacks of free speech on Web sites! I do not agree that the current system is corrupting our democracy (or rather, our republic). Further, public funding would give additional power to the government to control elections. I say end all public funding of elections and end all campaign finace laws!

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