Melissa Harris-Perry | February 24, 2013
>>> sky is the limit is the phrase that could deskrip our approach to campaign finance . he's a businessman and conservative activist wants to uncork the amount of money you can spend on candidates. under federal law , no one person can give more than $2500 to a single candidate in an election or 31800 to a party. this is the scalia and thomas free speech argument that they should not be limited.
>> absolutely. look, agate limits on contributions, there's no justification for limiting the amount of money a person can spend to project his message during an election other than to eliminate money on an election. they said it's an illegitimate purpose. there's no way under current precedent that these limits on contributions will be sustained. not only that, it's a good thing. we are talking about speech. it takes physical things to engage and project your message with an audience. that means money. the more money involved, the more speech we have. as much as someone may disagree with the expenditures, which is more dangerous, the government throddling speech.
>> on this one, i am more conflicted than i am on voting rights in part because i think money has a way to influence politics but also as much as 2012 told me there was lots of tinkering happening around voting rights , for all that money, they only bought the status quo, at least at the national level. tell me why there is a reason to tl throttle speech.
>> this goes back to 1976 case. in there, the court said with respect to expenditures which is what citizens united was about, money is more like speech. therefore, we are going to subject those to scrutiny and congress is going to be less likely to -- it's really important not to let all the political hoopla around citizens united trickle to this case. it's a separate issue. with the contributions, you can limit them because there's too much of a threat of corruption. it's not there's too much money in politics. this is a rational. i can lay so much money at your doorstep and to this point about aggregate limits. this is the strongest argument. i agree with that. it's to say the independent limits, the individual limits are i can only give so much to a particular candidate. it's not being challenges. what we are seeing challenged is the aggregate limit. am i blocked from giving to everyone at this table or capped out at a certain amount.
>> i get this.
>> the argument still is there.
>> this is useful to me to think about expenditures and contributions. make that argument back.
>> it's critical, the cap on the total amount of money i can contribute and the cap on how much i can give to a person. there's no opportunity for the argument. there's no opportunity for anticorruption purpose if what i'm doing is being prevented from giving more money to other people. the bottom line is --
>> let me back up. i want to be sure folks understand this. if we are talking a $2600 cap on each individual lawmaker, but now spread it over more lawmakers and organizations, what you are saying is there's no corruption argument. the individual is still making, casting the vote in congress.
>> it's the strongest argument. a libertarian who is no friend of campaign contributions said it's the argument. if you give that amount of money to all these people and they, in turn, send it back to one individual, the individual, say it all goes to you, you know where to lay the wreath of gratitude.
>> in speech, you can't have measure upon measure. they can't protect one corruption by regulating another area of speech and so forth. it's a principle that is at least as recently as wisconsin right to life. the bottom line is aggregate caps on contributions have nothing to do with it. there is no question of buying a vote when you are being capped off and prevented from giving any and all money to somebody else. the real purpose of this is manifestly to throttle back the amount of money for speech.
>> this one is challenging because we talk the principle. the principle sounds reasonable on both sides, but the effects feel so enormous and measurable and impericle on the ground.
>> your audience might find interesting the book where public lost. it talks about the way the system itself gets bent away from one person, one vote, the independence of the government upon the people and the electorate into $1, one vote. how much time -- most of our lawmakers spend most of their time on the phone dialling for dollars. that krucorrupts the system. there are other ways of campaign finance reform . they are not my ideas, but they are brilliant. free access to television and public financing . one idea is to pay voters to bone up on the issues. take a day, two weeks before come election. go not 30 seconds but talk with the fellow citizens.
>> how much do i love that college professor and the likely idea of paying for homework. how the president is trying to influence the robert's court. it's not with dollars,