Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oprah and Campaign Finance "Reform"

(Fishers, IN)- If I want to support Ron Paul with a check in the amount of $5,000, I am prohibited from doing so by law. $2,300 is the annual limit I can give. You can see this as the top amount on Paul's donation page, or on any other candidate's. For instance, here's the link to Barack Obama's, with the same top figure.

Oprah Winfrey has acknowledged that her check is pretty useless, compared with her endorsement and stumping for Barack Obama. From the NY Times Politics Blog:
She said she has not written a check to Mr. Obama’s campaign.

“Well the truth of the matter is, whether I contribute or not contribute, you are limited to how much you contribute, so my money isn’t going to make any difference to him,” Ms. Winfrey said. “I think that my value to him, my support of him, is probably worth more than any check.”

Yep. Probably. We'll call that the understatement of the year.

The Cato Institute's Daily Podcast for Dec. 11 poses the interesting question: In light of the "campaign finance reform" laws, which are ostensibly aimed towards making contributions more fair and level, should appearances by celebrities also be banned because such appearances skirt the spirit of the law? Link to the Cato Daily Podcast archives.

I believe the law is garbage. Contributions should not be limited, because they amount to political speech- just as sure as an appearance and endorsement by Oprah is also political speech, no matter how much value anyone could place on her appearances.

All this shows is that the law was really intended to keep influence in the usual hands, and keep those candidates who cannot yet draw on value outside the grassroots at bay.