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Campaign Finance Law vs. Free Speech

Somewhere there is a teacup, and wrongheaded laws are stirring up a little tempest therein. (Isn't that the worst thing you've ever read?)

There's a bitter fight brewing (gah! quit the imagery!) over the Swift Vets anti-Kerry ad about whether or not it runs afoul of campaign finance law:

Democracy 21, the Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center argue that the ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth violates a federal ban on the use of unlimited donations, often referred to as "soft money," to influence federal elections. [source]

(Link found in a tangentially-related Instapundit article.)

I have no opinion on the merit of the claim of illegality. It isn't this instance that interests me — it's the broader principle.

I remind everyone that political speech is precisely what should be most protected by the freedom of speech. Every person has the right to promulgate their political views, alone or in voluntary association with others. (Of course no one may compel the assistance of others; a right to speak is not an entitlement to be provided with a microphone and audience.)

The fact that the government has made it illegal to use certain kinds of funding for political advertisements is an obvious and obscene violation of the freedom of speech. You are no longer free to coordinate resources with others in particular ways when your goal is to influence public opinion. The government is preventing political speech when it is most influential precisely because that's when it's most influential. These laws are, without question, a species of censorship.

They are immoral, unconstitutional, and should be discarded.

Tiny Island