This week featured the first general election in which Seattle residents and candidates were able to use the city’s new taxpayer-financing system for political campaigns. The so-called “democracy vouchers” program levied a new property tax in order to provide every voter in the city with four $25 vouchers that they could in turn give to […]
The evolving story about Russian intervention in the 2016 elections has spurred Congress to fixate increasingly on online advertising. Organizations with suspected links to the Russian government ran ads on social media platforms like Facebook, where they spent about $100,000 on such content – a miniscule number compared to both domestic political spending online and […]
Taxpayer-financing of political campaigns is an increasingly salient issue at the state and local level. Advocates of greater campaign finance regulation argue such policies will reduce the influence of large donors in campaigns and, consequently, improve the political system in other areas too. In reality, many years of experience demonstrate that tax-financing of campaigns is […]
By Joe Albanese
Many of those who overstate the power of large donors are, unsurprisingly, also the same people arguing for more restrictions on political spending and giving. They either don’t realize or willfully ignore that money isn’t just a tool for the wealthy and powerful. It enables citizens to pool their resources and amplify their voices.
That’s why membership groups like AARP and labor unions are so influential. Restricting one form of political speech would just force Americans to find other, perhaps more burdensome ways to make their voices heard. More importantly, First Amendment rights to political speech are inseparable from the ability to give money to a campaign, party, or advocacy group. The Supreme Court has said so for decades.
A strong democracy requires different groups voicing their concerns in different ways. This helps politicians keep their finger on the pulse of supporters and detractors. Donating money hasn’t allowed one viewpoint to dominate government. As long as differing viewpoints exist, it never will. It’s certainly one powerful way to let politicians know when the American people notice that promises have not been kept.
Our new name, the Institute for Free Speech, is almost self-explanatory. What may be less clear to a casual observer is the Institute’s choice of logo, a lantern. Imagery that features flames can symbolize many different things: enlightenment, liberty, or even passion. These are all concepts we are eager to invoke. But the Institute’s lantern […]
How big a problem is “dark money”? What about corporation spending in politics? Why doesn’t the FEC take a stronger stand against political activities by private groups? These are some of the questions tackled by Federal Election Commissioner Lee Goodman. On Wednesday, Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy hosted an event with Goodman, entitled […]
Connecticut legislators recently hit a bump in the road in their effort to defund a state program that provides taxpayer funding to political campaigns. Organizations like the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP) hailed this development in a post touting the reduction of “special interest” influence in elections after the program was implemented […]
Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing, Citizens' Election Program, National Institute on Money in State Politics, special interests, Connecticut
Brookings Institution Panel Says Democracy is in Crisis without (More) Regulation of Political Speech
On Wednesday, the Brookings Institution hosted an event entitled “Democracy at risk: Solving critical problems threatening U.S. elections.” It was billed as a discussion about the “challenges” of the opened “floodgates to Super PAC and secret money in U.S. elections.” Besides the panel, Brookings also distributed a list of specific policy objectives from Democracy 21, […]
Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Super PACs, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing, Brookings Institution, Buckley v. Valeo, Common Cause, CREW, David Price, Democracy 21, Democracy Vouchers, federal election commission, Fred Wertheimer, Karen Hobert Flynn, McDonnell v. U.S., Norm Eisen, Richard Painter, Seattle, Tom Udall, Udall Amendment
On Monday, the Cato Institute held a day-long symposium entitled “The Supreme Court: Past and Prologue – A Look at the October 2016 and 2017 Terms.” The event coincided with the release of the newest issue of the Cato Supreme Court Review, which provides an annual look at the preceding term and future path of […]
Last week, The Washington Post ran an article titled, “A two-decade crusade by conservative charities fueled Trump’s exit from Paris climate accord.” Of course, a two-decade campaign to force an exit from the Paris Agreement would not make sense – the agreement was only adopted in 2015, and President Trump had already promised during his […]