Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: A Case for Limiting Campaign Finance Regulations

The Citizens United ruling methodically uprooted nearly every legal doctrine that stood poised to gut the First Amendment in the name of “campaign finance reform.” In place of arbitrary balancing tests, Citizens United requires the First Amendment to be enforced through broad, easily understood and widely applicable principles. Citizens United is the most important free-speech case in decades. Its reasoning suggests the Court will soon strike down all campaign finance regulations other than reasonable limits on contributions made directly to candidates and basic requirements about advertising disclaimers and spending disclosures. Sadly, politicians of all stripes are looking to circumvent the Court’s ruling. The wrong message has been received from the Citizens United case. Defenders of free speech and limited government must seize back the initiative by disposing of the volumes of complex campaign speech regulations that throttle political free speech–starting with Arizona’s regulation of “political committees.”

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