Mr. Smith Leaves Washington


Federal Elections Commission Chairman and friend o' liberty Bradley Smith has submitted his resignation to President Bush, after serving five years on the board authorized to enforce the campaign finance laws he despised. From his resignation letter:

I remain concerned about the effects our campaign finance laws are having on grassroots political participation. Political activity is more heavily regulated than at any time in our nation's history. For example, in accordance with the law, during my tenure the FEC has assessed penalties against parents for contributing too much to the campaigns of children; against children for contributing to the campaigns of parents; and against husbands for contributing to campaigns of their wives. We have required citizens to respond to complaints for the display of homemade signs supporting a candidate. These are just a few examples: the Commission's regulations take up nearly 400 pages of fine print. I urge you to consider the effects of regulation on grassroots, citizen political activity when proposals arise for still more regulation.

Reason interviewed Smith in May 2004 and July 2001. Though Bush is somewhat of a campaign-finance skeptic, it's hard to imagine him nominating a replacement as rightfully hostile to a terrible set of laws.