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Education News Interview: “Steve Simpson on McCutcheon vs. FEC

Steve Simpson, director of legal studies at ARI, was recently interviewed by Education News about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC and other issues relating to campaign finance law and freedom of speech.

In this illuminating interview, Simpson explains not only why the Supreme Court was right to declare the so-called aggregate contribution limits unconstitutional, but also why campaign finance laws violate the individual’s right to free speech:

Campaign finance laws limit the amount of money anyone can donate to a candidate’s campaign. Why would that abridge anyone’s right to free speech? Consider that the purpose of a campaign is to convince people to vote for one candidate and against others. Campaigns do that ultimately by producing a lot of speech — typically in the form of advertisements, speeches, signs, TV appearances and the like — and to do that requires a lot of money. If you limit the money, you necessarily limit the speech.

You often hear the claim that “money isn’t speech,” which is literally true, but beside the point. It’s also true that computers, printing presses, paper and pens are not speech, but preventing people from using them would be just as much a restriction on the right to speech as telling someone they can only devote 1000 words to expressing their views.

Simpson goes on to examine the nature of corporations, the difference between democracy and freedom, the cause of corruption and “cronyism,” and crucial Supreme Court decisions in this important area.

Read the whole interview here.