The Institute for Free Speech has done a study of all 50 states’ freedom of political speech based on the ability of individuals and companies and political parties to contribute to the candidates of our choice. Colorado got an F as one of the very worst states in the nation when it comes to this kind of freedom. I’ve been talking about this for a while. We’ll talk with David Keating of IFS about their study.
Archives for March 2018
630 KHOW Denver (The Ross Kaminsky Show): The Rundown-Thurs 3/29: Stifling political speech in Colorado (In the News)
Belleville News-Democrat: Trouble with money in politics may be when you try to keep it out (In the News)
By Editorial Board
[T]he Institute for Free Speech created an index to measure how much each state restricts campaign donations and thus restricts political speech. Illinois ranked 29th with a C-minus, mainly for restrictions on individual giving to political parties and political action committees.
Ranking all 50 states allows a look at whether state and federal campaign donation rules help or hurt incumbents, lead to better government and fight corruption…
Part of the problem with Illinois’ political giving is that it gives unlimited donation rights to a party or to a candidate’s relative but not to Joe Average, the study found. Illinois is unique in removing contribution limits when an independent group dumps big bucks into a campaign or when you are facing a rich person funding their own campaign.
Not an issue when billionaires clash.
So how are we doing? We are taxed more than any other state while still being nearly bankrupt, have an Illinois House Speaker who holds a national record for being entrenched and 60 percent of the state legislative races were uncontested in 2016.
Limiting the cash that buys you the ability to spread a dissenting message may be part of our problem.
Filed Under: In the News
PDF of letter available here Via Electronic Filing Robert M. Knop Assistant General Counsel Federal Election Commission 1050 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20463 RE: Regulation 2014-02 The Institute for Free Speech is pleased that the Federal Election Commission has issued this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding independent expenditures by candidates and to allow […]
Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Comments and Testimony, Federal, Federal Comments and Testimony, Electioneering Communications, federal election commission, Independent Expenditures
Jackson Clarion Ledger: Report: Mississippi among top states for political speech rights (In the News)
By Joe Albanese
The Institute’s Free Speech Index scores and ranks all 50 states on their laws governing political giving, grading them from A+ to F. Fortunately, Mississippi ranked as one of the top states in the country, earning an A grade. This places it alongside 10 other states that earned an ‘A’ or higher. One crucial trait these states have in common is that they don’t limit the freedom of individuals to give to candidates, parties, and political committees, as well as the ability of parties and political committees to give to candidates.
Why is it so important that states like Mississippi allow freedom in political giving to and between these groups? Because the main effect of government-imposed restrictions on political giving is to limit the amount of speech individuals, organizations, and political actors can express. Giving money is not just a show of support. It also enables candidates and groups to spread their message further…
Lawmakers in Mississippi deserve praise for preserving their constituents’ First Amendment freedoms. Many politicians find it easier to pass laws that make it harder for voters or rival candidates to criticize them. They do so while claiming they are protecting voters from the rich when really, they are protecting themselves. Mississippi is one of 11 states that has done an exemplary job of avoiding this trap. Hopefully, the Institute for Free Speech’s Index will shed light on how such states can continue producing pro-First Amendment policy – and will push others to do the same.
By Editorial Board
It’s worrisome any time Oklahoma lands at the wrong end of national rankings, particularly when an independent group determines the state imposes more burdensome regulations than most. Thus, a report from the Institute for Free Speech, which reviews states’ campaign finance regulations, warrants Oklahoma policymakers’ attention…
The institute gave Oklahoma an F and ranked the state 41st nationally. The only praise Oklahoma received was for a change made in 2014 when officials eliminated the “per family” contribution limit…
But the institute stresses that Oklahoma “has a lot more work to do,” pointing out we’re one of just 15 states to impose limits on contributions from individuals to political parties and from parties to their candidates. The state also “severely curbs” the ability of political action committees to contribute to parties…
In comparison, the institute notes 28 states allow unlimited donations to parties; 22 permit parties to provide unlimited support to candidates; 32 allow unions, corporations or both to give contributions directly to candidate campaigns; and 11 have no limits on how much individuals may contribute to candidates or parties. (Neighboring Texas, dominated by Republicans, landed in the institute’s top 10 states, but so did liberal Oregon.)
If so many other states can operate with far less restrictive campaign finance limits, without creating any notable problems, then there’s no reason to think Oklahoma can’t do the same.
By Editorial Board
The Institute for Free Speech, or IFS, founded by Bradley Smith, a law professor and former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, assembled the Free Speech Index, which graded each state on its laws governing “political giving.” …
Florida resided right in the middle: graded a C and ranking 25th…
Florida registered its highest marks for not limiting individual and PAC contributions to parties, and not putting a ceiling on what individuals can give to PACs.
Florida’s worst scores came on individual and PAC donations to candidates for governor and the Legislature. Capping citizen and PAC contributions for gubernatorial candidates at $3,000 per election placed Florida 48th nationally. Limiting individual and PAC donations to legislative candidates to $1,000 per election put Florida between 47th and 49th, depending on the contest…
All of us think too much about who’s giving rather than considering their right to be heard, and with little thought about whether all this strict regulation of financing produces better government.
The IFS report is a welcome resource to help us see that we might need to rethink our alarmism over money in politics. Spending gobs of money to get a message out there is only half the battle. It still must be a message that wins over voters.
By Geoff Ziebart
Sixteen years ago this week, President Bush signed into law the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). In hindsight, many recognize BCRA was a mistake and that our federal campaign finance system now is rife with unintended consequences…
I represent the National Association of Business Political Action Committees (NABPAC) and my 220 members operate under the most restrictive regulations of any donors. They are painfully aware of the need for change as contribution limits under which political action committees (PACs) operate have not increased since the Ford administration. Unlike individuals, PAC limits were neither increased nor indexed for inflation under BCRA. This means a married couple today can give more to a candidate for Congress than a PAC with thousands of donors. What’s more, inflation over the last four decades has eroded the current value of a $5,000 PAC contribution to just over $1,000…
Even in “reform” minded California, a PAC can contribute up to $58,400 to a candidate for governor. Under Federal law, however, a PAC can only contribute $10,000 over six years to a U.S. senator from California. Thirty-two states have set PAC contribution limits for some statewide candidates equal to or significantly higher than federal limits. Thirteen states allow unlimited PAC contributions to some statewide candidates and 11 currently allow unlimited personal contributions. According to the Institute for Free Speech, 17 states have raised contribution limits since the Citizens United decision.
“Fox & Friends” On Tuesday, Institute for Free Speech President David Keating appeared on “Fox & Friends” to promote IFS’ recently released Free Speech Index. The Free Speech Index ranks all fifty states based on how restrictive their political giving laws are. Keating offered this summary of the goals of the Index: “The big problem […]
Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Contribution Limits State, Newsroom, Press Releases, Fox & Friends, Free Speech Index - Grading the 50 States on Political Giving Freedom, The Wall Street Journal