Expand Free Speech by Limiting Political Money

Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles recently shared an op-ed with the Sacramento Bee on the history of California’s Political Reform Act and what it means today, nearly 40 years later.

Levinson writes:

“Californians took a leap of faith 40 years ago and sought to revolutionize elections and politics. In 1974, by a ratio of 2-to-1, voters approved Proposition 9, a ballot initiative that created California’s Political Reform Act.

The Political Reform Act is long and complicated, but the short version is that the act controls issues related to the financing and disclosure of candidate and ballot measure campaigns in California.

The shorter version is that because of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, we will not see, in the short term, many of the reforms envisioned by the original Political Reform Act.

Levinson continues, citing the importance of Buckley v. Valeo and its direct impact on our current framework that allows unlimited contributions. But, she also argues:

“Restrictions on money spent in campaigns can actually promote speech interests. Yes, that’s right. Campaign finance laws and the First Amendment can live side by side, and restrictions on political money can foster a broader and more elucidative political marketplace.”

Levinson credits the democratizing force of the Internet as reason to be optimistic and to inform others and organize around campaign finance reform.

 

Read the full article.

Click here. 

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