Washington's back-scratching political class apparently sees it differently. A few years ago, they locked arms around a measure sponsored by Senators John McCain, a Republican, and Russ Feingold, a Democrat, imposing unprecedented restrictions on the political activities of everyday Americans. Initiatives that had been legal for as long as anyone could remember were suddenly transformed into sanctionable offenses, all under the guise of "campaign finance reform."The pledge to repeal the law is a nice thing to hear.
So who, other than lawyers trained in the intricacies of federal campaign law, has benefited from McCain-Feingold? Washington's political class. Restricting political speech ultimately hurts those in the greatest need of political speech – challengers to incumbent politicians (thus the joke that McCain-Feingold should be called the "Incumbent Protection Act"). Do we really need Washington politicians doing themselves more favors to protect their jobs?
America has a rich history of protecting speech, and these protections draw on the unambiguous language of the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech." We step into dangerous territory when politicians start eviscerating our fundamental freedoms in the name of amorphous principles, like campaign finance reform. If I am elected President, a top priority will be to push for the repeal of this deeply-flawed measure, and restore the full freedom of political participation and expression to the American people.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Mitt Romney on Campaign Finance Reform
Writing at Townhall.com, Romney takes on McCain-Feingold: