St. Augustine Record: Limit campaign donations: Do you agree or not? (In the News)

St. Augustine Record: Limit campaign donations: Do you agree or not?

By Editorial Board

Sunday, The Record published a front page story titled “Big money flows to County Commission race.” …

Judging from limited reader comments following the story, the general consensus here is that big contributions taint the electoral process… 

But there are those who’d disagree. The institute for Free Speech recently assembled what it calls a “Free Speech Index.” It is predicated on the assumption that constrictions on campaign spending are a bad thing for the country for two reasons: Finance restrictions muzzle free speech, and they tend to protect incumbents, “while hobbling newcomers.”

It looked at 19 factors aligned under five categories: the ability of individuals to give political candidates, parties and political action committees; the ability of political parties to support their candidates; the ability of PACs to give to candidates and parties; the ability of unions and corporations to donate to candidates; and indexing contribution limits to inflation.

The five “best” states for unfettered campaign finance are Alabama, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Virginia. All received a grade of “A” because they have zero limitations on campaign giving or spending.

Eleven states received an “F” grade; Kentucky and West Virginia were at the bottom of the barrel.

Florida received a “C.” It was consistent in that, within the five categories, it was ranked no higher than 24th or no lower than 28th.

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