Thursday, May 8, 2014

Campaign Finance Reform

The following was written in November 2013 as a response to the questionnaire for federal candidates seeking an endorsement from the Liberty Caucus of the Republican Conference (i.e., the Republican Party).

Here is the link to the original questionnaire:

This is my answer to Question #4.

4. B and D
   (Federal electoral campaign contributions and expenditures should be reported and publicly disclosed by state governments not financed and controlled by the Federal Election Commission, nor protected as free speech)
   The federal government has no enumerated constitutional authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures, so there is no constitutional precedent for campaign contributions to be (A) financed and controlled by the Federal Election Commission. This means that the right to make contributions to electoral campaigns should be (D) restricted only by state governments.
     I do not believe that campaign contributions are (C) protected free speech; I believe that campaign contribution is commercial business activity. The 1st Amendment protects the right to non-violent spoken and written self-expression, including political speech and writing, but the absolute freedom of expression is not enumerated in the 1stAmendment, so the notion that campaign contribution is political expression and therefore protected speech is invalid.
   The purpose of the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment is to prohibit the federal government from making laws which inhibit the freedom of speech and writing which are not fraudulent, treasonous, slanderous, or libelous; the 1st Amendment is designed to protect political speech. An interpretation of the 1st Amendment which protects the right to unlimited, undisclosed campaign contributions does not protect political speech.
   I would support passing a constitutional amendment which requires any entity classified as a corporate person - whether an individual, a corporation, a labor union, a governmental agency, or some other organization - to have both the freedom of trade associated with corporation status and the responsibilities associated with humanity (in addition to responsibilities to investors as the public), such as the responsibility to provide restitution for fraud, and the responsibility to be transparent about campaign donations.
   In summary, while the only solution which is currently constitutional is (D) restriction on a state-by-state basis, I would support abolishing the F.E.C., and I would propose a constitutional amendment which explicitly authorizes the federal government to restrict campaign contributions and expenditures as commercial business activity, by requiring (B) the reporting and public disclosure of federal electoral campaign contributions and expenditures.

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1 comment:

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