“McCain-Feingold in the Ivory Tower”

George Will penned a new column detailing Aaron Flint’s challenge to a rule at the University of Montana at Missoula that limits candidates for student office to spending $100 on their campaigns.

Flint spent $214.69 in personal funds on "professionally made posters and pizza for his campaign workers."  Flint felt compelled to spend in excess of the $100 limit because "during the campaign, a large number of posters critical of him appeared around the campus." 

"He believes they were placed by the University of Montana College Democrats and the liberal Montana Public Interest Research Group. Neither group is subject to the expenditure limits applied to candidates."

George Will comments that enforcing the rule "presumably taught the university’s students important lessons about the civic danger posed by too many posters (too much political speech) and too much pizza, and about the dignity of the law.

Will concludes: "If the Supreme Court takes Flint’s appeal, it will see that the University of Montana is indeed teaching students a lesson about politics — the pernicious lesson that politics should be conducted under tight restrictions on advocacy. The university is preventing students from learning such essential civic skills as how to raise and allocate political money for advertising and organizing. Thus do the grossly anti-constitutional premises of McCain-Feingold seep through society, poisoning the practice of democracy at all levels."

Click HERE to read the column in its entirety.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.