2 Comments

  1. J E

    Need some clarification on your comments. You say that Section 2 leaves PACs & SuperPACs untouched. But wouldn’t independent expenditures by SuperPACs on behalf of candidates be covered? And wouldn’t PAC donations to candidates be covered too?

    • pewestlake pewestlake

      You’re partly correct and I should clarify that in the analysis. However, that only covers obvious advocacy for or against a candidate. Outside groups have long been able to get around such rules by disguising opposition ads as issue advocacy. Instead of saying “vote for opponent X,” they say “call Representative X and tell him/her to do XYZ.” That’s why Congress needs to be empowered to limit spending on campaign AND issue advocacy, provided the rules are applied equally and in a non-capricious manner.

      This is also why it’s important to separate money from speech so that we can separate “speech” from “press” and sanction people and organizations that use outright lies in their ads, which, under current law, can only be penalized in civil court, after the fact, and only if the injured party brings a suit. But who’s the “injured party” in the clearly false pro-fracking ad blitz in the northeast? It’s very difficult to gain standing to bring suit with a lot of these advocacy ads. A clear definition of spending money as a tool, not protected by the First Amendment, is the only way to clear a pathway through the Supreme Court and empower Congress to strengthen truth in advertising regulations.

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