Raising Contribution Limits Give Candidates a Voice

The Wall Street Journal has an article yesterday detailing a tiff between presidential contenders Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney’s Super PAC.  Or, a tiff with Mitt Romney; Newt isn’t really distinguishing between the two (Wall Street Journal, Gingrich Wants Ads Pulled):

The Super PAC backing presidential candidate Mitt Romney, which has blistered Newt Gingrich in this state, became the center of controversy on Tuesday, when Mr. Gingrich demanded its attack ads be pulled and said Mr. Romney was being “purely dishonest” in his refusal to intervene.  Mr. Romney insisted the television ads were out of his control, and that coordinating with the group backing him would violate campaign-finance laws. “My goodness, if we coordinate in any way, shape or form, we go to the big house,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

The article continues: 

“They set up these new entities, which I think is a disaster, by the way. Campaign-finance law has made a mockery of our political campaign season,” Mr. Romney said. “We really ought to let campaigns raise the money they need and just get rid of these Super PACs.”

Although Super PACs play an important role in the electoral process that should not be eliminated, Romney has a point.  Politicians are limited by restrictions to the point where campaigns happen around them, instead of being mostly conducted by them.  It is strange that candidates and political parties are forced to labor under handicaps that citizen groups can avoid.  The Supreme Court has upheld the right of PACs to spend without restrictions on campaigns, yet the very people running campaigns are forced to do so with extreme limitations.  Although federal contribution limits were indexed to inflation in McCain-Feingold, they are ridiculously low.  Raising contribution limits is a common sense way to allow the people running for office to voice their own narrative, rather than having to rely on others to do so for them. 


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