New CCP Issue Brief: A World Without Buckley v. Valeo

Overturning Buckley would do great damage to the First Amendment

Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released a new Issue Brief today summarizing key aspects of the 1976 Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo. Without the landmark decision – which many powerful politicians and activists wish to overturn – political speech and association rights would be greatly reduced. CCP’s Brief highlights some of the restrictions on First Amendment rights that Buckley struck down:

  • Low Limits on Campaign Spending. Buckley struck down limits on the amounts that candidates could spend on their campaigns, allowing voters to better learn their character, views, and qualifications for office.
  • Censoring Advocacy Groups. Buckley struck down an extremely low limit on independent spending that would have made it virtually impossible for anyone other than candidates, parties, and media to speak about elections.
  • Few or No Donor Privacy Rights. Buckley curtailed the definition of “political committee” to ensure that campaign regulations, such as donor disclosure, were not imposed on other groups.

“Over 40 years ago, the Court affirmed basic rights to free speech that had never before been seriously questioned,” said CCP Chairman Bradley A. Smith. “Overruling Buckley, a 7-1 decision, would be like repealing the First Amendment itself, and would impoverish American political discourse and popular sovereignty.”

“When the raising and spending of campaign money is heavily restricted, incumbents, celebrities, and the well-connected benefit at the expense of everyone else,” said CCP Senior Policy Analyst Luke Wachob. “Protecting speech and association rights in campaigns is essential to the health of our political process.”

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) is America’s largest nonprofit working solely to promote and defend First Amendment rights to free political speech, press, assembly, and petition.

To read the Issue Brief by Wachob, please go to or click here.

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