National Conference of State Legislatures: Get Rid of Needless Campaign Regulations (In the News)

National Conference of State Legislatures: Get Rid of Needless Campaign Regulations

By Bradley A. Smith

In the past decade, 18 states have raised contribution limits. But that means more have not. And almost no states have raised their limits to fully account for inflation since the limits were first imposed. Higher limits can reduce time spent fundraising.

Additionally, many states increase compliance costs (a campaign cost) and smother true grassroots campaigns with needless, and needlessly complex, regulations. People should not be discouraged from participating in politics by spools of red tape, but too many states have intricate, confusing campaign laws that desperately need simplification.

Meanwhile, provisions of the federal government’s 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, aka the McCain-Feingold Act, have severely hampered fundraising by state and local party committees. State officials should insist that Congress amend the law to free up local parties, easing the burdens of candidate fundraising and enhancing grassroots participation.

Efforts to lower spending through limits and regulation have been unsuccessful-after all, we have far more regulation than 40 years ago. Lower spending also comes at the expense of voter knowledge. Doing away with needless regulations, and thinking about things such as early voting or restructuring legislative chambers, will make it easier and less costly to run for office, without limiting political speech.

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