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Sep 18

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The New Assaults on Campaign Speech


Money had long been an issue in American politics, going back at least to the time of President Andrew Jackson when Congress considered a bill relating to campaign funding. Congress passed the first campaign finance law in 1867 and then another in 1883. Then, the Tillman Act in 1907 prohibited corporations and national banks from making monetary contributions to federal candidates, and it was followed by the Federal Corrupt Practices Act in 1910. More recently, the trend continued with the Taft Hartley Act, the Federal Election Campaign Act, and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002. On the judicial front, litigation in this area has attracted Supreme Court attention from 1921 until today. Starting in the mid-1970s, conservatives often defended and enforced such laws, while the ACLU led the charge to contest them and often prevailed as it did in the landmark case of Buckley v. Valeo (1976). By 2014, when the Court decided McCutcheon v. FEC, the liberal mindset changed as more and more liberal groups not only railed against rulings such as McCutcheon and Citizens United, but also launched a campaign to amend the First Amendment. How much speech are we as a people willing to tolerate during elections? Should some speech be prohibited during elections? Who can speak and how much can they speak when it comes to elections? Join us as a distinguished panel of First Amendment law experts discuss these questions and more.

More About the Speakers

Ronald K.L. Collins
Harold S. Shefelman Scholar, University of Washington School of Law and Co-author, When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Decision, Campaign Finance Laws, and the First Amendment 

Floyd Abrams
Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, Co-Argued Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 

Erin Murphy
Partner, Bancroft PLLC, and Argued McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission 

Adam Liptak
Supreme Court Correspondent, The New York Times (Moderator)

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James Swanson James Swanson

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