George F. Will: The judiciary and free speech

by - October 31, 2013

Mississippi defines a political committee as any group of persons spending more than $200 to influence voters for or against candidates “or balloted measures.” Supposedly, regulation of political activity is to prevent corruption of a candidate or the appearance thereof. How does one corrupt a “balloted measure”? Granted, there is some slight informational value in knowing where money supporting a voter initiative comes from. But surely not enough to burden ordinary citizens expending $200 with monthly reporting requirements, concerning which legal advice might be necessary because any violation of the campaign regulations “is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail” for up to a year. As the Supreme Court said in its excellent Citizens United ruling, “Prolix laws chill speech for the same reason that vague laws chill speech: People ‘of common intelligence must necessarily guess at [the law’s] meaning and differ as to its application.’ ”

George F. Will: The judiciary and free speech - The Washington Post

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