National Press Foundation: The Pros and Cons of Campaign Finance Limits
By Chris Adams
In a session with Paul Miller fellows, two experts on the nation’s complex campaign finance laws differed on the effectiveness of those laws – and whether they should even exist.
Larry Noble, senior director and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, detailed the ways in which recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have made it easier for wealthy donors to funnel money to support the candidates and campaigns they favor…
“The game that’s being played right now is hide the donor,” he said.
David Keating, president of the Institute for Free Speech, questioned the need for limits or for disclosure rules.
“So-called ‘dark money’ is a very small percentage of the total,” he said, adding that it amounted to less than 4 percent of the total in the 2016 election cycle. “I think it’s very unlikely to increase in the future. When you look at it from a donor’s view, if you want to influence an election, it’s a very wasteful way to go about it.”
He also said that the concern over big money in elections is overblown – and that people often forget the underlying issue that limits represent.
“What we’re talking about here is the First Amendment right to speak out about our government,” he said.