All Free Speech is Created Equal…

...but some is more equal than others.

Here’s a modest proposal: obviously, the effects of the Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions can only be completely overturned with a Constitutional amendment. Either that, or a dramatically reconstituted Supreme Court (which most Americans now see, correctly, as just another political branch of government). In the meantime, I suggest we pass a law in state legislatures and Congress stating that lawmakers must recuse themselves from any vote on any piece of legislation that will directly benefit any person or organization which donated more than, say $500, to them in the last two election cycles. Whore yourself out to the oligarchs all you want, in other words, but you can’t do their bidding. This would necessarily require a strong and independent ethics commission to enforce, but even that is less difficult than amending the Constitution. You could require than each bill be accompanied by an Ethical Impact Statement that lists all donors who would directly benefit from its passage. It’s not a perfect solution, of course; for one thing, SCOTUS may well be on the verge of completely throwing out all disclosure requirements as a violation of the right to anonymous speech. For another, it wouldn’t effect governors or presidents. Still, it’s a start. Progressive states might even add scuh a provision to their constitutions, thus making it harder to water-down or throw out as the political winds shift. That’s my contribution to the debate.

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