Campaign Finance and the Press Exemption

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

A couple of years ago, Molly Ball wrote an article for The Atlantic about the influence of money in politics and the state of campaign finance laws in the country. The focus then was on super PAC dollars and their potential impact on the presidential campaign.

Ball’s article included an interview with Common Cause Vice President Mary Boyle, who lamented that many people’s eyes glaze over at the mention of campaign finance reform. Common Cause is the national advocacy organization that’s fostered discussions about government accountability as well as money in politics, voting, and elections since 1970.

When we’re faced with a struggling economy, military concerns in the Middle East, climate change, and a host of other serious issues, campaign finance reform usually doesn’t make a top-10 list of America’s most pressing problems.

But it’s still an important issue.

The question around the table on Monday’s Kentucky Tonight was whether a Constitutional amendment is needed to overturn recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance law. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has proposed an amendment that would allow Congress to regulate the flow of money into campaigns and elections.

Our panel last night included Joy Arnold, chair of Central Kentucky Move to Amend; Richard Beliles, state chair of Common Cause Kentucky; Paul Salamanca, a University of Kentucky law professor; and Christopher Thacker, president of the Central Kentucky Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society. One of the more interesting points we discussed followed a viewer call about the First Amendment and what’s known as the “press-media exemption.”

Watch the complete Kentucky Tonight discussion.

One Response to “Campaign Finance and the Press Exemption”

  1. Debbie Wesslund says:

    I just watched the campaign finance show on line, as I had a meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Education that evening and could not watch live. It is difficult to explain to most people the importance of campaign finance regulations. We understand the impact of “special interests” but understanding specifically how to manage that is very complicated. In the 80s and early 90s I worked for U.S. Representative in D.C. who made campaign finance reform a focus. The goal was to provide rules of engagement in campaigns, and limit stifling special interest influence. We thought money in politics was out of control at the time. I fear many don’t realize how far away from any form of fairness we have come. I hope there will be more discussion of this important issue. What could be added are some examples of the money going in to races, and even the growth of leadership PACs that are also problematic (at least at the federal level). Rep. Yarmuth is very articulate on the issue. And, I respect Common Cause and the efforts to address Citizens United. Thanks for delving in to this issue.

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