Sunday, January 24, 2010

Political Event Sponsorship and Free Speech

I'm of two minds about the recent Supreme Court decision to eliminate all current and historical constraints on corporate and union funding of political campaigns.

On the one hand, legislating against it has never really been fully successful; ways around the prohibitions have always been found. I think there's an analogy here to the outlawing of any behavior perceived as bad, like owning guns, drinking booze, or smoking marijuana. It's always done anyway, at least in the absence of truly draconian measures that are more than people can stomach in the long term.

On the other hand, all constraints? Wow.

What about sponsorships? I can see it now: "This mayoral election is brought to you by AIG, helping to insure freedom to sell job-friendly stock derivatives!"

Or even naming rights: "Welcome to our coverage of the Swiffer Sweeper Congressional Elections, dedicated to cleaning house!"

Prohibiting any of this would be depriving the companies of a form of free speech, right? And don't forget, elections are expensive. I'm sure there are lots of cash-strapped municipalities who would welcome some help covering the cost.


  1. You are quite correct that there is no way to circumvent special interests channeling funds one way or another to leaders whose job it is to look after the interests of their constituents. Perhaps it is better to have fulll transparency (like NASCAR)

    On the other hand, it is dissapointing that laws enacted in T. Roosesvelt's time are being repealed without the benfit of public awareness or debate.

  2. All I can say is that I fully agree.

    (And sorry for the late response. I forgot to make blogger email me when comments are posted. Fixed.)


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