In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court reiterated that individual free speech and the 1st Amendment trumps the federal government when it comes to campaign contributions. The government’s claim of the need to constrain ‘possible’ corruption had no bearing when it comes to Free Speech and the 1st Amendment, SCOTUS said.
Chief Justice John Roberts said, “The limits deny the individual all ability to exercise his expressive and associational rights by contributing to someone who will advocate for his policy preferences.” He continued saying, “A donor must limit the number of candidates he supports, and may have to choose which of several policy concerns he will advance — clear First Amendment harms that the dissent never acknowledges.”
Missouri democrats have opened their offensive for the next election cycle now that the 2012 elections are over. What they are attempting to do is to impose their version of McCain-Feingold at the state level. Significant portions of McCain-Feingold were later to be found unconstitutional.
A local democrat legislator is proposing similar restrictions for Missouri. The restrictions include a $5000 donation limit and exposing the contribution lists for non-profit organizations.
Michael Mahoney, a reporter for a Kansas City TV station, wrote the article below on his blog.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri House Democrats on Tuesday called for new campaign finance rules and stiffer ethics laws that cap political contributions, limit gifts from lobbyists, require departing legislators to sit out before becoming lobbyists and impose new reporting requirements for some not-for-profit groups.
Democrats said they believe the proposal is a priority for Missourians and that, if necessary, they could attempt to take the issue directly to voters through an initiative petition. Lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January for their 2013 session.
The wide-ranging legislation would cap campaign contributions for legislators and statewide elected officials at $5,000 per donor for each election and would limit gifts lawmakers and immediate family members can accept from lobbyists to $1,000 annually. Legislators also would be barred from working as paid political consultants while in office and would need to wait at least two years after leaving the Legislature before returning to lobby former colleagues.
In addition, the Missouri Ethics Commission would gain the authority to launch its own investigations instead of waiting for a compliant to be filed, and the ability to move campaign contributions among political action committees would be restricted.
The pertinent portion of the proposed reform is this.
The House Democrats’ most recent proposal also adds some new issues. For example, it would require not-for-profit organizations contributing money for political purposes to disclose their donors. During this year’s elections, there were instances in which a political action committee that is required to report on its finances received contributions from a not-for-profit group that is not required to report its donors. That made it difficult to determine the original source of the money.
That last sentence is the true motivation. The democrats want those donor lists. Those conservative contributors would soon find themselves targets. The entire reform plan has one goal—to get those donor lists. If you read Mahoney’s entire column, you’ll discover that dems attempted to “reform” campaign finances in 2010. Their scheme failed when the proposed legislation was modified once it was out of committee. When that failed, they had one of their judges (why is it always the same Cole County judges?) declare it unconstitutional on some technical grounds.
I’m sure there is one or two RINOs around the state who will sign onto this proposal and allow the dems to claim it’s bipartisan. The reality of it is that it is never bipartisan, just another skirmish in the continuing battle between us and them in Jeff City.