Des Moines Register: Iowa should be applauded for political speech rights (In the News)

Des Moines Register: Iowa should be applauded for political speech rights

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. Iowa 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 Iowa 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…

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 they are actually protecting themselves. Iowa is one of 11 states that have 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.

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