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February 25, 2010

Dodd Introduces Amendment To Strip Americans Of Right To Donate To/Spend On Behalf Of Political Candidates

If you love liberty, this will seriously disturb you. If you are a liberal who wants government to be able to limit political speech by Americans, it will warm the cockles of your heart.

Senator Chris Dodd has introduced the following Constitutional Amendment.

SECTION 1. Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits onó
(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and
(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

SECTION 2. A State shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money with respect to State elections, including through setting limits onó
(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, State office; and
(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

SECTION 3. Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Now if you were not paying attention there, you might find it rather innocuous. it isn't. What it does is authorize not just limits on donations by corporations to political campaigns (it's alleged purpose), but it also allows for the banning of ALL contributions to candidates. Even more chilling, it gives Congress the power to limit your ability to spend money to support or oppose a candidate, even if such spending is completely independent of any candidate's campaign.

So let's fast forward to America after this is passed. I've got this blog, and I want to use it to support or oppose the candidates of my choosing. If Congress has set the limit for private expenditures on behalf of or against any candidate at $0, then I am effectively prevented from using my blog to do so. After all, the cost of my computer, the electricity I use to run it, my monthly internet connection, and any registration fees I pay for my domain now constitute "expenditures. . . in support of, or in opposition to" candidates in violation of that $0 limit.

And even more insidious is that the amendment not only limits what others may spend on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate, but it also authorizes Congress (and the states) to limit or ban expenditures by the candidate's own campaign! In other words, the ability of a candidate to get his or her message out is now contingent entirely upon the whim of Congress. So not only do we see this legislation directed towards overturning the Citizens United case of a few weeks back, but also the venerable precedent in Buckley v. Valeo that held that candidates have an unlimited right to spend as much of their own personal money on their own behalf as they choose!

The upshot is that this is a sneaky, back-door way to authorize Congress to impose complete public funding of political campaigns. Political speech will not be a right, it will be a privilege. The First Amendment will have been rendered null and void, for all Dodd's professions of respect for the rights that amendment protects.

Sadly, many Americans have been led to believe that the Citizens United decision is an abomination against the Constitution. The sophists who continue to rail against the decision and seek to overturn it are presented as defenders of liberty -- and Dodd and his co-sponsor are receiving great praise for this amendment, as are those seeking statutory "solutions" to the "problem" of the Citizens United decision's ringing defense of political speech. I therefore cannot help but be put in mind of a movie quote.





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I believe there is a need to study more about this issue. One issue here is that: there is a tendency that politicans may be used by private individuals who wish to safeguard their business. In politics, there are suckers and the goverment are fully aware of this. I hope that the government too does not suck.

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