GetMoneyOut.com (Dylan Ratigan)
Drafted by Jimmy Williams
Legal Personhood: n/a
Money as Speech: Confused
No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office.
The first two sentences in this amendment contradict themselves. In the first sentence, all Federal campaign contributions are prohibited, laying the foundation for what must surely blossom into public financing. But then the second sentence goes on to empower the regulation of those very campaign contributions that were just prohibited across the board. It doesn’t square.
If we assume that the use of the word “person” in the first sentence is the mistake, and that the narrower interpretation would be a restriction on associations, then limiting the prohibition on defining the spending of money as speech to Federal campaigns leaves the door open to issue advocacy, PACs, super PACs, trade groups and so on. If, on the other hand, the interpretation is a blanket restriction on money contributions in the first sentence, creating public financing, and the regulation is on in-kind contributions, then those in-kind contributions can include speech in which case this amendment would have the effect of preventing the Supreme Court from recognizing actual speech as a form of Constitutionally protected speech. It doesn’t work either way.
Further, in failing to overturn Buckley v. Valeo, these provisions create a conflict with the First Amendment that the Roberts 5 can easily exploit to limit or quash campaign finance reform legislation in the future. Plus, using the phrase, “notwithstanding any other provision of law” could make this amendment subservient to future legislation and defeats the entire purpose of an amendment.
It’s possible that a majority of Americans favor declaring election day as a Federal holiday but it can be accomplished via legislation and it’s just one more distraction from the primary goals of abolishing natural legal personhood, which this proposal ignores, and prohibiting the Courts from recognizing the spending of money as an expression of speech, which is attacked in a confused manner.
The goals are noble but the language is open to broad interpretation. This concept would work better fleshed out as legislation after an amendment unwinding Buckley and Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific is adopted.