Hit & Run

Jacob Sullum Says Let Money Talk

The Supreme Court should abandon the dubious distinction between campaign spending and campaign contributions.

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If Congress tried to limit spending by newspapers, the courts would reject such meddling as a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Likewise if Congress tried to accomplish its goal indirectly by limiting the amount of money newspapers receive from advertisers. Yet the same sort of distinction supposedly justifies federal limits on campaign contributions, the subject of a case the Supreme Court heard in October. McCutcheon v. FEC gives the Court an opportunity to reconsider an illogical constitutional line it drew nearly four decades ago. Jacob Sullum argues that the Supreme Court should abandon the dubious distinction between campaign spending and campaign contributions.