Thursday, November 06, 2003

I just returned from the U of M Law School's 2003 Silha Lecture, which was by Ken Starr on "Campaign Finance and the Freedoms of Speech and Association." I'm skeptical of campaign finance reforms on a good day, so I was intrigued as to what he had to say.

Most of the lecture was a recapping of the basic arguments against CFR/BCRA/McCainFeingoldShaysMeehan. What I found most intriguing was Starr's tentative step into the area of policy-making. He argued that the current, command-and-control system of campaign finance law is bad policy and contrary to the spirit and tradition of free speech, association, and political discourse. His recommendation was that we outgrow it and replace it with a system of transparency and disclosure, which I tend very strongly to agree with. A perfectly transparent system of campaign finance disclosure, open to citizen monitoring (hell, sounds like a perfect job for the blogosphere) would do a hell of a lot more good than fining organizations that dare speak the name of a candidate in a broadcast ad 30 days before an election.

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