Campaign Finance Law Follies, Part Two
What you begin to see whent you examine the laws enacted as campaign finance 'reform' is that one size does not fit all- just as with most public policy. It creates winners and losers.
Since the laws are written by incumbents, you can bet that if incumbents face the effects of these laws, they will be the winners, and everyone else will be the losers.
I am a Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State. I am not raising millions of dollars. I am raising modest amounts of money. My goal is to raise at least $100,000 over the life of the campaign, and have raised less than $20,000 thus far, so I am the furthest thing from someone who is buying an election.
Some of these laws are designed to make it difficult for political action committees (PACs) to masquerade as simple grassroots organizations. These grassroots organizations that are organized under 501-c-4 are not allowed to endorse political candidates. The idea is to prevent a big corporate interest from forming a bogus grassroots organization for the purpose of funnelling dollars into it so as to make it look like the support of a candidate was coming from The People, rather than the corporate interest that might really be behind it. Seems like a good idea.
But, in the interest of transparency, they make people do a tiptoe through the political tulips, which I find distasteful.
I do work with genuine grassroots organizations, such as the Geist United Opposition. I have supported their fight against forced annexation by the Town of Fishers. Naturally, their contributors- mainly folks who are property owners in the Geist area in Hamilton County- are interested in supporting my campaign. I thought that one way they could support me is to endorse my campaign.
Sorry, that kind of speech is forbidden by law. Wither the First Amendment? Yes. Political speech has been curtailed by the campaign finance laws. The leaders of grassroots organizations cannot lend the name of that organization beyond a very limited usage.
So, the persons who would lend me their name have to completely divorce themselves from their affiliations. They have to sign on to my campaign strictly as Joe Citizen, and as a resident of their neighborhood.
Kind of defeats that whole interest in transparency, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be more transparent if they listed their affiliations?
With every law comes the law of unintended consequences. One size does not fit all.
I would like to urge readers for a change in the laws, but I cannot. It is forbidden. If I did, I would be subject to the Federal requirements spelled out under BCRA. Instead, I can only tiptoe through the tulips, dropping hints, but not speaking plainly. This is all that the law allows me to do.
So, are you satisfied with laws that have this blanket effect, that have no exemptions for legitimate grassroots interactions?