Bills Interfere with Political Speech, Invite Costly Litigation
The Louisiana Legislature is considering two campaign finance bills that would interfere with political speech. SB 333 and SB 431 propose to redistribute contributions from candidates who raise funds above a certain limit to candidates who have not achieved similar fundraising success.
Why should you oppose this proposal?
First, this would frustrate a donor’s right to associate with the candidate of their choosing. Funds of donors intended to benefit one candidate would be used to subsidize the speech of candidates whom they have chosen not to fund.
Further, this proposal would impose a de facto limit on political speech. Redistributing funding from one candidate to another creates an incentive for candidates to cap their own fundraising. This type of cap does not prevent corruption, it simply reduces the quantity of political communication.
Finally, schemes such as those envisioned in these bills have already been struck down in federal court. As Laura Renz of the Center for Competitive Politics has noted, “passage of either of these bills will almost certainly open the state up to costly litigation and force taxpayers to fund what will likely be an unsuccessful defense of these bills.”
Contact Your Legislators Today
The Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider SB 333 and SB 431 this Wednesday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m. in Room F. Please contact the members of this committee and ask them to oppose these bills, and if you can please attend the hearing.
Policymakers have an obligation to protect our First Amendment right to political speech. Schemes that redistribute contributions, encourage fundraising caps, subsidize political speech, and invite costly litigation infringe upon this basic freedom.
Kevin Kane is the president of The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market and limited, accountable government. Through research papers, policy briefings, commentaries and conferences, the Institute seeks to educate and inform Louisiana’s policymakers, news media and general public.