Political Reality 101 – money is speech

Printed in the Herald-Times, March 12, 2013. (Comments)

To the Editor:

It is a common misconception that the First Amendment grants the five freedoms listed therein. This is actually not the case. What the First Amendment does is make it illegal for government to restrict the freedoms our founding fathers assumed were ours naturally. We see this mentality with the statement that we are “endowed by (our) Creator with certain inalienable rights” in the Declaration of Independence.

It is because our natural rights are sacred that the agenda of “Move to Amend” – while well-intentioned – is nonetheless counterproductive. The point of the First Amendment is not to grant rights to “persons” but to prohibit government from restricting our natural rights.

While some fret about the amount of money in politics, we actually spend less money on political contributions in an election cycle than we spend on potato chips. (The Economist, Nov 24, 2012.)

And like it or not, money is speech. Campaigns cannot send direct mail, buy TV or radio advertisements, run a phone bank, hire campaign staff or host a campaign Web site without money. To say that limiting campaign contributions or spending does not limit speech is like saying that rationing gasoline does not inhibit freedom of travel.

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