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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 22, 2007 / 12 Kislev 5768

Congress' wealth of hypocrisy

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Congress is less divided by partisanship than it is united by devotion to the practice of protecting incumbents. Doing this with, for example, the bipartisan embrace of spending "earmarks" is routinely unseemly. But occasionally, incumbent protection is also unconstitutional.


It was in 2002, when Congress was putting the final blemishes on the McCain-Feingold law that regulates and rations political speech by controlling the financing of it. The law's ostensible purpose is to combat corruption or the appearance thereof. But by restricting the quantity and regulating the content and timing of political speech, the law serves incumbents, who are better known than most challengers, more able to raise money and uniquely able to use aspects of their offices — franked mail, legislative initiatives, C-SPAN, news conferences — for self-promotion.


Not satisfied with such advantages, legislators added to McCain-Feingold the Millionaires' Amendment to punish wealthy, self-financing opponents. The amendment revealed the cynicism behind campaign regulation's faux idealism about combating corruption.


The amendment says: When a self-financing House candidate exceeds the personal spending threshold of $350,000, his opponent gets three benefits. First, the opponent can receive contributions triple the per-election limit of $2,300 from each donor. Second, the donors' now-tripled contributions are not counted against those donors' aggregate contribution limits for the two-year election cycle. Third, the opponent is permitted to coordinate with his political party committee unlimited party expenditures that otherwise would be limited by statute. Senate campaigns are subject to similar provisions, which are even more generous to candidates opposed by wealthy, self-financing individuals.


In 2006, Jack Davis, a wealthy Buffalo-area Democrat, self-financed his House campaign against Rep. Tom Reynolds, who, as a four-term incumbent and a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, knows how to raise money. Benefiting from the additional advantages conferred by the Millionaires' Amendment's provisions, Reynolds narrowly won, 52 percent to 48 percent.


Davis wants the Supreme Court to rule that the Millionaires' Amendment unconstitutionally burdens the First Amendment right of political advocacy and violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law. The Millionaires' Amendment does both — and it reveals how the corruption rationale for campaign finance regulation is a charade.


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In 1976, examining a 1974 law restricting both campaign contributions and expenditures, the court affirmed two principles. First, corruption arises from quid pro quo arrangements connecting contributions with particular actions of a public official. Second, because corruption arises from contributions, restrictions on expenditures are much more problematic constitutionally.


The court noted that candidates spending their own money reduce their susceptibility to coercive pressures and hence serve the purported purpose of regulation — preventing corruption. So the court rejected the limits on candidates' personal expenditures and dismissed as merely "ancillary" the objective of "equalizing the financial resources of candidates." Furthermore, in 2001 the court affirmed the limits on party-coordinated expenditures because they are "tailor-made to undermine contribution limits." With that in mind, reread, four paragraphs above, the third provision of the Millionaires' Amendment.


So, that amendment punishes candidates who use their own noncorrupting money — self-financing candidates cannot corrupt themselves — to disseminate their political speech. Such candidates are penalized for exercising a fundamental right — political speech — that Congress cannot constitutionally curtail.


The amendment does this by increasing the access of candidates opposed by wealthy candidates to what the authors of McCain-Feingold supposedly considered the corrupting sort of money — political contributions from donors who can give triple the amount that McCain-Feingold says can corrupt (or in the case of Senate candidates, six times that amount).


Furthermore, incumbents can benefit from the Millionaires' Amendment even when they have amassed, as most can, substantial war chests. McCain-Feingold's authors wrote this provision while pretending to reduce the influence of donors but while actually engaged in incumbent protection.


Davis's appeal to the Supreme Court asks: "If the answer to the corrupting influence of campaign donations is the application of uniform limits, how can the answer to noncorrupting expenditures be found in higher limits made available only to those candidates most susceptible to corruption?" If the court answers that question reasonably, it will accelerate the unraveling of McCain-Feingold, the most pernicious — and for incumbents, the most audaciously self-serving — law ever enacted to abridge First Amendment freedoms. Meanwhile, both parties increasingly try to recruit self-financing candidates, because "reforms" imposing limits on the size of contributions have increased the cost, in candidates' time and money, of raising campaign funds.


In 1976, the court stressed how crucial it is "that candidates have the unfettered opportunity to make their views known." In 2003, however, the court affirmed McCain-Feingold's fetters on political advocacy. The court has some contradictions to correct and an immediate reason — the Millionaires' Amendment — to begin.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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