Jacob Sullum on How Misguided Regulations Gave Us the Pretense of 'Independent' Campaign Spending

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During Sunday's Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich said they cannot control controversial ads supporting their bids for the nomination because they are legally barred from "coordinating" with the "super PACs" that produce them. Critics argue that super PACs encourage reckless mudslinging and pose essentially the same risk of corruption as unlimited campaign contributions would. Senior Editor Jacob Sullum says super PACs, like prostitutes who masquerade as masseuses or head shop owners who insist their fancy water pipes are intended for use only with legal herbs, have a shady reputation because of misguided prohibitions.

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