Campaign Finance Limitations As Protections Of Free Speech

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Timothy Sasser (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Paul Gates

Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution of jurisprudence in cases regulating campaign finance in order to propose a lasting solution to increasingly deregulated campaign finance laws. The analysis considers legislation and rulings from the first federal campaign finance legislation passed in the U.S. in 1876 to the most recent holding in McCutcheon, et al. v. Federal Election Comission (2014). The Court’s rulings remained somewhat inconsistent until the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006. After she was replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court struck down most all campaign finance limitations. The recent decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), SpeechNow.Org v. Federal Election Commission (2010), and McCutcheon have focused so extensively on the conceptual right to speech that they have suppressed, not protected, it. The lack of limitations is an issue because political influence is shifting from the general public to wealthy individuals and groups. Legislation has proven ineffective, so I argue that a lasting solution will come from the Judicial rather than the Legislative Branch. The recent passing of Justice Antonin Scalia leaves a balanced bench and a chance for reform. I conclude that compelling interests considered in such cases are far too limited and that the Court must define a new compelling interest, political equality, if it is to establish lasting campaign finance reform.

Additional Information

Sasser, T (2016) "Campaign Finance Limitations As Protections Of Free Speech" Unpublished Honor's Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone NC
Language: English
Date: 2016
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, BCRA, exacting scrutiny, Federal Elections Campaign Act, FECA, hard money, soft money, strict scrutiny

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