Publius Was Not a PAC: Reconciling Anonymous Political Speech, the First Amendment, and Campaign Finance Disclosure
36 Pages Posted: 23 May 2013 Last revised: 8 Sep 2014
Date Written: March 1, 2014
This article criticizes federal and state campaign finance disclosure laws on First Amendment and political privacy grounds and offers several suggestions for reform respectful of these concerns. Part II of this article offers a history of anonymous speech and suppression of political speech generally. It also illustrates the benefits of anonymous speech to political discourse and participation in the American experiment. Part III is a political speech primer, laying out the basic principles for protecting it constitutionally, and identifying the schism between free speech and campaign finance reform. Part IV discusses the difficulty and expense of complying with campaign finance disclosure. It also discusses efforts to expand campaign finance disclosure laws to reach practically all political speech. Finally, Part V discusses the paradox surrounding legal protection of anonymous speech, and offers various proposals to bolster political privacy.
Keywords: First Amendment, free speech, election law, campaign finance, anonymity, political speech, politics
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