Limits on campaign contributions are highly problematic

Pratt on Texas“A federal appeals court has upheld the 2016 ruling that struck down a portion of [the City of] Austin’s campaign fundraising rules, based on the challenge brought by former Council Member Don Zimmerman,” reported the Austin American-Statesman.

“The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled Thursday that Austin had failed to justify its blackout period that prohibited candidates from fundraising until six months before election day.

“The lower court’s July 2016 ruling would have made it possible for candidates to raise money at any point, though the Austin City Council subsequently passed an ordinance allowing fundraising only within the 12 months before election day.

“As with the lower court ruling, the appellate decision Thursday was a split decision for Zimmerman and the city,” the paper reported noting that the appeals court agreed with the trial court judge who upheld the city’s $350 per donor contribution limit in an election cycle.

…having government imposed contribution limits is akin to allowing the government to say an individual has an absolute right to free speech but then telling that same person that if he talks to long or too much he can be jailed.

I’m glad to see that Mr. Zimmerman has so far beaten Austin on its effort to curtail political speech expressed by financial support but, I’m not pleased with upholding contribution limits.

If money to pay for the delivery of political speech is integral to such speech then, having government imposed contribution limits is akin to allowing the government to say an individual has an absolute right to free speech but then telling that same person that if he talks to long or too much he can be jailed.

Why this basic concept is so hard for people to understand bugs me to no end.

What do you think?...

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