McCain Feingold 0 – Free Speech 1

A federal court has struck down several key points of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill that banned "soft money" contributions and certain forms of political activity.

This win is hardly surprising, as McCain-Feingold is clearly in violation of the Supreme Court precedents of Buckley v. Valeo which established that certain limits on candidate expenditures violated the Constitution. McCain-Feingold would not only limit the political speech rights of large donors, but even people who donate to groups from the NRA to the ACLU.

McCain-Feingold is a piece of horrendously flawed legislation that should have never been signed by the President. Thankfully, the court system appears to be doing its job and protecting the rights of political speech for all Americans.

One thought on “McCain Feingold 0 – Free Speech 1

  1. I’ve always had very mixed feelings about campaign finance reform. Forbidding that money from being used to finance campaign ads is likely to further disengage and already moronic and embarrassingly disengaged electorate even further from their democratic responsibilities by cutting off the campaign ads that air in the last weeks of October during “Fear Factor” and “Joe Millionaire”….which is of course the only conceivable venue to reach the “I don’t think any of the candidates are addressing my concerns” crowd. Muting advertised political speech during the campaign helps ensure that even fewer people will take their voting responsibility seriously.

    On the other hand, unbridled soft money campaign funds from special interests IS tantamount to bribery. The tobacco companies would not have been able to make their sweetheart “oligopoly in exchange for profit-sharing deal” with the government if not for the fact that tobacco industry campaign dollars effectively paid off the federal government and the states with so much soft money. Soft money also ensures that the party in control will ultimately seek to cold-bloodedly destroy the constituencies of the opposition party for as long as they have power, as Bush and the GOP Congress is now doing with labor unions.

    Soft money produces a divisive Washington culture where few things productive will ever get done, and is also the chief contributor to Washington’s binge spending problem, with every party eager to give their top campaign donors a return on their investment. Of course, you’re willing to live with that since Republicans reap the most plentiful spoils from the existing campaign finance system and thus have a nearly universal campaign-funding advantage in most races.

    If the courts rule McCain-Feingold unconstitutional, I probably won’t lapse into a fit of uncontrolled sobs. Ultimately though, the unconstitutional “patriot” provisions being crammed down our throats now make the changes to campaign finance laws passed last year seem pretty trivial. The reason Bush found it possibly impossible not to sign McCain-Feingold was the fallout from the Enron/Worldcom collapse, for which he and his colleagues’ hands were dripping with blood. Revoking these laws will only produce more Enrons and Worldcoms.

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