In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has taken what many regard as a doctrinaire approach to campaign finance regulation. It has seized on the indisputable proposition that limits on campaign expenditures and contributions implicate important First Amendment values and, pressing the proposition to logical extremes, invalidated a number of federal and state laws that had imposed such limits.
This newspaper editorial discusses recently proposed legislation in the state of New Hampshire that would collect fees on expenditures made by individual political candidates, PACs, and Super PACS. The collected fees would be used to help the state justice department more rigorously enforce campaign finance and public disclosure laws. They would also be used to develop and implement innovative civics education programming within the state.
After a practical review of how this legislation might impact the current political environment in New Hampshire, and a brief discussion of the legislative judicial underpinnings that inform its proposal, the author concludes with an interesting point of philosophical consideration.
New Hampshire Union Leader
John M. Greabe, "A New Frontier in Campaign Finance Regulation," NH Union Leader, Jan. 7, 2016, at A7.