The decision was greeted with derision. The New York Times said "it opened a big new loophole in time to do mischief in the 2008 elections." The Post said that while the ad seems "inoffensive" on its face, the ruling "reopens a dangerous loophole." The Reform Institute said it "paves the way for the return of sham 'issue ads' just as the 2008 campaign is heating up."Political speech is not something that should be drowned out or regulated. Rather it should be celebrated and encouraged, above all it should be protected.
Have we completely lost our bearings? This is no "loophole," folks. This is pretty basic. I agree completely with Matt Notowidigdo, who wrote to the Times, as "someone who is passionately pro-choice," that he cheered the ruling for the anti-abortion group.
"While that organization might technically fit under the definition of a 'corporation' for the purposes of campaign finance law," he wrote, "I have trouble understanding how that organization's involvement in the late stages of a campaign represents an excessive influence of 'special interests' . . . .
"The organization clearly represents the views of a very large number of citizens. The many citizens who contribute time and money to Wisconsin Right to Life care deeply about issues related to abortion, and I think that it is a clear victory for political speech that they can now collectively express themselves when their message has the greatest impact."
The reality that reformers find hard to accept is that in this country, efforts to regulate tightly the flow of money from the private sector to the political world will almost always run afoul of the courts. The effect of much over-regulation is not to shut down the spigots but to drive donors farther and farther underground.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Broder on WRTL
David Broder talks about the Wisconsin Right to Life ruling from last week and is dismissive of the objections to the ruling.