Matching Funds for Your Opponent No Big Deal, 9th Circuit Says


Today a federal appeals court rejected a First Amendment challenge to the "matching funds" provision of Arizona's Clean Elections Act. Under this law, participating candidates receive a taxpayer dollar for every private dollar spent by their unsubsidized opponents (or by groups that support them). In January, on the day before the Supreme Court overturned federal restrictions on political speech by corporations in Citizens United v. FEC, U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver ruled that Arizona's system "burdens…First Amendment rights, is not supported by a compelling state interest, is not narrowly tailored, and is not the least restrictive alternative." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit disagreed (PDF), saying the law "imposes only a minimal burden on First Amendment rights" and is therefore subject to "intermediate scrutiny," rather than the "strict scrutiny" applied by Silver. The 9th Circuit said Arizona's system "survives intermediate scrutiny because it bears a substantial relation to the State's important interest in reducing quid pro quo political corruption." The issue, which may ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court, is timely because one of the responses proposed by critics of Citizens United is increased public subsidies for political campaigns.

The Institute for Justice, which represents the state legislator and political activists who brought the suit, has background here.

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  1. We truly are going down the “publicly funded” toilet. I can’t take anymore politics…I want to go back to being a petulant ass in high school…please.

    where is the fucking blue pill

    1. You can’t go back. At least not without a frontal lobotomy. But I empathize. The Cassandra moments, once so exhilarating, now taste like ashes in the mouth.

  2. Right, ‘only a minimal burden’ as in completely muting an individual’s right to express support for a specific candidate by donating private funds preferentially in hopes of increasing that candidate’s chances of winning. How is it anything else when it has the effect of simply raising the funding of both candidates equally, thus eliminating the intended advantage the support is assumed to offer? Fuck you, 9th Circuit!

    1. It’s even worse than that since for every dollar voluntarily given to a preferred candidate, some amount of your own money is being spent in support of the opposition.

      That said, I don’t see a valid reason for this law to be deemed unconstitutional.

  3. C’mon, lets have some more hopeful posts about Ron Paul’s idiot son Rand.

    1. Edward sat in front of his browser, relentlessly clicking the refresh button for H&R; the neglected microwave burrito half eaten next to him was crawling with roaches, but he didn’t notice. The roaches didn’t even flinch as he screamed “POST SOMETHING SO I CAN COMMENT YOU CUNTS!!!” every few refreshes. He would occasionally wipe the spittle from his mouth and the sweat from his vein-webbed forehead with a grimy towel, never looking away from the screen.

      Suddenly, the screen changed: a new post! His hands shook as he clicked on the comment link, like a heroin addict’s when attempting to find a vein after going too long without a fix.

      He began to drool as he mashed the keys furiously, his eyes red and bleary but oh so intently staring at the screen. He completed his comment and clicked submit. That’s when he began to rub himself. Refresh, then stroke…refresh, then stroke.

      He needed lubricant, but to his dismay, the Vaseline jar on the desk was bone dry. He began to panic, and then his eyes strayed to the roaches. With lightning speed, his unoccupied hand lashed out and crushed a large roach into goo.

      With a maniacal smirk of satisfaction on his face, Edward smeared the roach innards on his penis and began the cycle again with a sigh…refresh, stroke…refresh, stroke.

      1. You, sir, have a gift.

        1. What an appropriate handle, Mr. Simple.

      2. I may not always agree with you, but right now, I could kiss you.

      3. Is your mouth sore from sucking Ron Paul’s cock, Episiarch?

        1. I’M ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE, MAX. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington . . . I’m asking you to believe in yours.

      4. That’s totally unrealistic! We all know that he had some canned response typed out in a window to the side and pre-copied into his clipboard.

      5. Thanks for the visual.

        1. Glad you all enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it.

          1. Gots ta give ya props, like Naked Lunch and Dairy of a Madman spun together.

      6. Epi, I am impressed. Not since the days of LoneWacko: The Novel have I read your slashfic. Good memories. I defer to your mastery of prose. Well done, sir!

        1. I did it for NutraSweet.

          1. I’m sure he will delight in your genius. As we all have, my friend.

          2. I did it for NutraSweet.


      7. Excellent. Excellent. And made even more excellent by Edward’s sputtering enraged response. Shut the fuck up, Edward.

        1. Thanks, asshole. A compliment from you is like a compliment from Michael Bay: meaningless and tasteless, and I’d choke you with it if I had the opportunity.

          1. The mark of a genius: the inability to take a compliment. You pathetic maelstrom of overly ripe vaginal yeast. Happy now?

            1. Why the fuck did you italicize maelstrom, you ignorant quack? Did you miss the first day of English class at Tufts? Oh wait, you didn’t even go to Tufts, you state school douchbag. How was day one at Ozark U, anyway? Some of us went to real schools, you know.

              1. Uh, foreign word, dude? Also, for emphasis. Such as, why did you misspell douchebag? Don’t you like vinegar and water on your salad?

                1. Maelstrom isn’t a foreign word, you goosestepping moron. And what THE FUCK do you put on your salad?!? Ranch?!? There is one thing one puts on a salad: oil and vinegar. Anything else is worthy of the Olive Garden, you classless piece of shit.

                  1. You ignominious twit, I wouldn’t be caught dead fucking Olivia Newton-John at the Olive Garden, unlike you, barring your aren’t dead. And maelstrom is Nordic is origin. Johns Hopkins you say? And anthropology, Bones? I like Caesar salads. You can pick the peanuts out of my shit, pilgrim.

                    1. Why don’t you two just do it and get it over with. I’m starving.

                    2. I’ll skip the nuts but pass the popcorn

                    3. I wouldn’t do that, I also had corn on the cob with dinner. Jumbo hot dogs are on special though.

                    4. Kosher

                    5. I do answer to a Higher Authoratay.

    2. Give it up, dude.
      Grow some balls and find a handle you want to keep.
      If you can’t find a reason to disagree, then either leave, or join us. First posted (today!) 5/21/10

    3. It’s a shame that Max doesn’t open up to you guys more. You would then realize what a great guy he is under that gruff exterior. Did you know that he has never missed a single episode of ‘Rules of Engagement’? He absolutely loves it! He calls it, ‘Puddy’s Show.’

  4. there must be some way to break this. Can someone set up a shell company that does minimal “advertising” for a 501c3, but bills an advocacy group… Then, the remainders from the excessive billing get kicked back to another 501c3 that also does “advertising”. Loop around, add it up, and make the public pay for the other side.

  5. Maybe this is stupid (and it’s not strictly speaking libertarian, but more of a “least worst” compromise), but what is wrong with the idea of giving each citizen who voted in the last presidential election say $50-100 per election cycle that may be donated to any candidate(s) for office within the United States. Anyone could donate more than that, but the first few dollars would be subsidized.

    It would increase a politicians financial accountability to the broader public (theoretically, at least) and might even dilute the influence of well funded interest groups by forcing them to compete with ~$5 billion dollars in individually directed campaign contributions.

    Any problems I’ve missed?

    1. “Any problems I’ve missed?”

      Yeah. Enforcement.

    2. Other than it would cost your state $50 or so to report your name and ID data to the feds; it would cost the feds $50 or so to keep track of your data, safeguard it, and issue you the funds; it would cost you$20 or so to do the accounting; it would cost the candidates $20 or so to account for all the tiny donations; and it would cost who knows how much to prevent fraud?

      Oh, and because more popular candidates would get more money, which is exactly what the reformers most desperately want to prevent?

      And, of course, it’s the “reporting who voted to the federal government” part that would have any libertarian screaming.

    3. Oh my God, you are right–that IS stupid.

      1. well shit.

        So much for that

  6. The 9th circuit be a bunch a bitches, yo.

  7. There’s a good chance that the Supreme court will fix this. I wonder which 5 justices will vote to overturn?

  8. In other news, liberals are trolling this post:…..d-america/

    Seriously, can the political discourse get any MORE childish? Apparently, they staged a twitter thing to go vote to ban the flag from schools.

    I’m laughing my head off. Go liberals! Show us your brains.

    1. It’s hard for anyone to show brains at

  9. In other news— That guy down in Orlando introduced HR 5353 The War Is Making You Poor Act

    1. Hmmm, interesting… if only Rep. Grayson didn’t always sound like such a douche, playing master of the universe with people’s lives and livelihoods like he knows what he’s doing.

    2. TWIMYPA? He needs some acronym lessons.

      1. It’s an OK acronym Tulpa. It doesn’t roll off the tongue, but it shouldn’t offend anyone’s sensibilities.

      2. How about “The War is Making Paupers of You” — TWIMPOY

  10. I’m not sure I see a 1st amendment problem with this. Unlike BCFR it doesn’t prevent anyone from broadcasting their viewpoint, except in the unlikely case that prices for air time go up due to the extra money being pumped into the campaign by taxpayers.

    1. Obviously a terrible law because it constitutes non-neutral government involvement in political campaigns, but that ship sailed long ago unfortunately (thanks ONDCP).

  11. Under this law, participating candidates receive a taxpayer dollar for every private dollar spent by their unsubsidized opponents (or by groups that support them).

    If I read this correctly, couldn’t I set up a PAC/527 org “in support of” Statist McFuckhead, make really bad ads that “inadvertently” end up hurting said candidate, and then have every dollar spent get reflected into the coffers of a decent candidate? Seems like a deliciously evil way to use this law to fuck over the very types that passed it.

  12. So, if a relatively unknown candidate who has no shot at public funding spends $50 on flyers, then the incumbent who has hundreds of thousands in the war chest gets tax money to match what the little guy spent? Does this law really say that or am I misreading it?

    1. Only if the incumbent doesn’t spend anything from his war chest. Even then, perhaps not…depends on whether they consider spending or cash on hand as that which must be matched.

      1. It would make more logical sense to match funds spent as opposed to funds accumulated. However, that would set up essentially a blank check for the challenger. If that is the case, why bother having fundraisers, which in theory is good, but do we as taxpayers wish to be compelled to pay for a candidate we don’t support?

      2. I’m pretty sure it’s any amount raised in excess of what the State gave the Clean Elections candidate.

    2. No. If he has hundreds of thousands in his war chest I’m pretty sure he didn’t sign up for the clean elections crap.

  13. Here in Arizona, the Clean Elections law has an even better way of punishing the candidate that doesn’t sign up for the matching funds.

    Candidate A is not taking the public money. Candidate B is. Candidate A holds holds a fundraser. Lets say he raises $10,000 gross. Expenses to raise that were$ 2,500. Candidate A netted $7,500 for his campaign. Well, The Clean Elections commission only looks at the gross amount and gives $10,000 to Candidate B. Thats how you level the playing field here.

    So by not signing up to suck off the public , Candidate A really getting screwed by going the traditional route

  14. So, let me get this straight — if a union or corporation uses its members’ dues or shareholders’ money to support a candidate that those members oppose, it’s violating their rights and a breach of ethics.

    But if the government uses money paid by citizens for the common good to subsidize the political campaigns of people that (presumably) a number of citizens don’t support, that’s legit?

  15. LOL, the Kangaroo Courts have spoken. What a joke.


  16. it bears a substantial relation to the State’s important interest in reducing quid pro quo political corruption.

    Umm, how? I’m just not seeing it.

  17. One of the best compromises I can think of would be free and unlimited use of gov’t owned, or gov’t licensed, facilities by candidates campaigning for office. No matching funds, no discrimination. If you’re running for office, you get free postage, free and unlimited use of gov’t real estate and adv’t facilities for adv’t, free and unlimited use of the gov’t printing office, and free and unlimited use of any and all gov’t-owned communication facilities. And if the “left” really wants to push it, a significant allowance of time on privately owned braodcasting facilities licensed by gov’t. Let the public drown in politics until they’re so sick of it they outlaw political advertising!

    1. And if the “left” really wants to push it,…


      You are the “left”.

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