Freedom from criticism

Rick Hasen has a nice piece about anonymous campaign funding:

You’ve got to feel bad for the rich and powerful in America. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a variety of big business groups say if Congress goes back to letting the American people know who is behind campaign attack ads, businesses will face the “palpable” threat of “retaliation” and “reprisals.”

Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith warns in The Wall Street Journal that boycotts based on political beliefs — made possible by the public disclosure of campaign finance data — “endanger the very commerce that enriches us all.” Even the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, apparently is being “intimidated” (Kathleen Parker), “pressured” (George Will) and “threatened” (Rick Garnett) by that most powerful force in America (law professor and New Republic legal editor) Jeffrey Rosen.

Bradley Smith and other conservatives argue against boycotts because they hurt businesses and could get out of control, which is why political donations by corporations and the rich need to be anonymous (such as $55 million raised by a group that is basically formed to keep them anonymous–go here also). They obviously don’t really believe in free speech. The rich have a huge advantage in politics because they give so much money, among other things; the rest of us can only respond by getting together in large groups and engage in group speech, such as with boycotts.

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