H.J. Res. 74 (112th Congress)
Introduced by Rep. D. Edwards [MD-4]
Legal Personhood: n/a
Money as Speech: D
Nothing in this Constitution shall prohibit Congress and the States from imposing content-neutral regulations and restrictions on the expenditure of funds for political activity by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity, including but not limited to contributions in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office.
The narrow focus on campaign finance reform is a weak response to Buckley and Bank of Boston that could easily be manipulated by the Roberts 5 on the Supreme Court, especially given the complete lack of attention to legal personhood in this proposal. Also, the partial omission of unions (only incorporated unions appear to be included) makes this language too partisan to win broad support. Lastly, the problem with the phrase “content-neutral” is that the nature of “content” can be the difference between opinion and libel. We the people should not be forced to live with a press that is “free” to knowingly and deliberately misrepresent the truth. A proper understanding of the difference between free speech and the free press is precisely why Fox News-style propaganda networks aren’t granted licenses to broadcast in Canada. We cannot codify a permanent merging of speech and press, which is why the next section makes matters worse.
Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
Nothing in this article comes close to abridging the freedom of the press as it is, unless interviewing an elected official is being treated as an in-kind donation. That’s an argument worth having, but not in this context. And, as stated above, the biggest harm to the press in the first section is the tacit approval of the press as just another expression of speech.
An amendment like this has the potential to do more harm than good, both to the electoral process and to the movement to overturn Citizens United.