Overlooked in all the hubbub over ballot initiatives and council districts at tonight’s Anaheim City Council meeting is a proposed resolution on the consent calendar which, if approved, would put the city council on record as opposing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case.
Citizens United struck down federal campaign finance law prohibiting independent expenditure campaigns by corporations and unions, and ruled that the federal government cannot limit spending by corporations, unions, associations or individuals to influence elections. Citizens United was a resounding affirmation of our constitution right to free political speech.
The resolution states that Citizens United was bad for good government and calls for more federal regulations and restrictions on campaign contributions and spending — up to and including amending the U.S. Constitution.
Campaign finance “reform” is The God That Failed. It is based on the false premise that money in politics is inherently bad and that they path to good, clean government is by having the government tightly regulate when, how and how much we can contribute in order to influence who we elected to govern us.
Nowadays, belief in the efficacy of campaign finance reform borders on superstition. It has been tried and tried for the last forty years, and it has failed and failed. McCain-Feingold was only the most recent and egregiously anti-freedom permutation of this political mania.
Recent revelations of IRS abuses of conservative activist groups based on their political views should disabuse anyone of the wisdom of further empowering the federal government to regulate political speech and activity. The goodwill and neutrality of federal bureaucrats has shown itself a fragile protection for our freedoms. To re-write the First Amendment in order to do so is a chilling thought.
Money be it corporate or union or private, seeks to influence elections because modern American is so massive and so pervasively influences the market place. It is the size and scope of government that attracts so much money into politics. If these reformers want money out of politics, they should get politics out of money.
The Anaheim City Council should not approve this resolution endorsing a roll-back of Citizens United.