David M. Primo talks about how campaign finance laws work to restrict free speech.
This past election when Dina Galassini emailed some friends urging them to join her in opposing a ballot initiative proposing $30 million in bonds for the town of Fountain Hills, Ariz., she thought she was doing what Americans have done throughout our nation’s history—speaking out on matters of public concern. Instead, she received a letter from a town clerk strongly urging her to “cease any campaign related activities.” It turns out she failed to fill out the paperwork required by Arizona’s campaign finance laws and therefore didn’t have the government’s permission to speak.
Under Arizona law, as in most states, anytime two or more people work together to support or oppose a ballot issue, they become a “political committee.” Even before they speak, they must register with the state, and then they must track every penny they spend, and if spending more than a small amount, fill out complicated reports detailing every move.
Worse yet, these laws do nothing to help educate voters. They're worthless, they're unconstitutional, and they're keeping citizens from becoming involved in politics.
I honestly don't understand why "progressives" think that these laws are such a great idea. Why is it okay for me to be involved in politics by myself but not okay for me and 10 or 100 or 1,000 or even 10,000 people to pool our time, resources, energy, and money together, to promote or oppose an idea?