Comments Steve Simpson:
Whatever the question, a growing segment of the culture thinks the answer is always more regulation of political speech. Do you tell people what candidate to vote for? You should be regulated. Do you avoid telling people what candidate to vote for? You are a liar; you really want to tell people which way to vote, but aren’t admitting it. You should be regulated. Do you spend a lot of money on political speech? That level of spending is grotesque. You should be regulated. Do you spend only a little? The laws are working. Let’s pass more of them. Are you a nonprofit that pays no taxes? You’re getting a gift and should be regulated. Are you a for-profit entity that does pay taxes? You’re distorting democracy and should be regulated!
It’s time we realized that the tax and campaign finance laws that apply to political speakers are designed to prevent people from speaking effectively and that many opinion leaders want to use them to do just that. If we want to prevent another scandal like this from happening — and more importantly, if we want to protect our ever-dwindling right to freedom of speech — we need to recognize that we can have freedom of speech or we can have a regulated marketplace of ideas, but we cannot have both.