The Supreme Court loosened restrictions Monday on corporate- and union-funded television ads that air close to elections, weakening a key provision of a landmark campaign finance law.
The court, split 5-4, upheld an appeals court ruling that an anti-abortion group should have been allowed to air ads during the final two months before the 2004 elections. The law unreasonably limits speech and violates the group's First Amendment rights, the court said.
Last summer, I had a first-hand peek at this bad law. I was working to pass legislation which would allow more exploration for American natural gas. The bill was coming up for a vote, and we wanted to run an ad to encourage Members to support this legislation.
But, because several of the Members were facing Primary elections, we were not allowed to run ads in their district. In short, we could not (by law) express our free speech and encourage these undecided Members to vote for this important legislation. Even more frustrating, several of these Members were not in any danger of losing (their Primary opponents were polling at like 5 percent). We were still not allowed to get our message out.