Many political reformers will tell you that money corrupts politics. But how do we get through to voters without an aggressive effort to reach them, which nearly always involves money?
Despite being the talk of California’s political world with over 700,000 views on YouTube, the Demon Sheep created by the Fiorina for U.S. Senate campaign was unknown to most of the very involved community group members I spoke to in Los Angeles this week.
The Sacramento echo chamber sometimes make you believe that the political stories being discussed all around you are also spreading far and wide and having an impact. In our great state of 36-million people it takes quite a lot to have an impact, especially when politics is not very high on the average citizen’s ‘things I like to do’ list.
With the recent Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court continues to support the contention that money is an integral part of the political process. The “money is speech” argument has been around since the Court’s Buckley v Valeo decision in 1975.
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh has offered clarity to the court’s decisions on involving money in the political process while rejecting the phrase “money is speech.” In a post on his well-regarded web site, The Volokh Conspiracy, following the Citizens United ruling, Volokh argued:
Similarly, we wouldn’t say “air travel is speech” or “computing is speech.” Yet surely a law that would limit the use of air travel or computers in political campaigns would be understood as a serious restriction of speech.
Volokh’s point: “It’s that restricting the use of money to speak, like restricting the use of air travel or computers to speak, interferes with people’s ability to speak.”
Read his entire post discussing the “money is speech” issue here, which includes links to earlier posts he wrote on the subject.