As Election 2004 inches closer, more and more campaign-finance laws that regulate free speech kick in. I recently had an e-mail exchange with Federal Election Commission chairman Bradley Smith about just what that means. I asked:
Pursuant to the various lawsuits, rulings, etc on 527s: Given that we're now 60 days from the election, is it now the case the groups such as Swift Vets, America Coming Together, MoveOn.org, etc can no longer run ads on TV or radio that mention specific candidates?
They can run ads so long as 1) they are not incorporated, and 2) they use only individual contributions, no corporate or union money. I do not know if any of these groups is incorporated, although I have heard rumors that Swift Boat Vets is not. You would want to check that out. Also, the limits only apply to broadcast and cable ads--print, internet, direct mail, billboards, park benches, skywriting, and cool T-shirts remain available.
I'd very much like to see skywriting play a bigger role in this election (maybe something about the Kyoto treaty?).
Political T-shirts here.