Sample Case Study Paper on Money as Free Speech Or A Form Of Corruption In Electoral Politics

Depending on the intent, money spent in electoral politics may be a form of free speech
or corruption. The Court has passed several legislations in regards to funds raised in electoral
politics. Campaign money is a form of speech used to convey and deliver the voters' political
message. Funding for electoral politics is perceived as corruption if donors exploit the
contribution as a gateway to favor personal interests. Campaign finance laws and regulations are
implemented to limit contributions to electoral politics. Money is essential in electoral
campaigns to amplify candidates' messages and motivate voters to participate in an election for
an effective campaign.
Statutory limits on campaign contributions are unconstitutional. The Federal Election
Campaign Act of 1971 was a constitutional breach to curb funds on an electoral campaign. In
Buckley v Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), the Supreme Court found statutory limits on campaigns
suppressing the quantity of political speech. 1 The Court, however, upheld the restriction of
electoral contributions. The Court came to this ruling to protect democracy from unethical
practices to maintain its integrity. It overruled the cut on the overall expenditure on electoral
politics.
Setting a contribution and expenditure ceiling restricts the quantity of expression a
candidate can make by limiting the number of issues discussed and the depth of exploration. The
financial resource is essential to enable a campaign team to conduct communication with the
voters. The contributions are an expression of support for the preferred candidate. Low campaign
funding suppresses protected speech as the candidates have limited resources to reach their target

1 “Buckley v. Valeo.” FEC.gov. Accessed October 26, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/legal-resources/court-
cases/buckley-v-valeo/.

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audience. 2 Restricting expenditures on electoral politics restrain effective communication by
stifling explorations and the number of subject matters featured.
The Courts found any limits on individual contribution to a federal candidate unlawful in
McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission. On April 2, 2014, the Court banished the cap on
individual contributions. The Court ruled that spending huge amounts of money unrelated to
control of an officeholder's role is not subjective to quid pro quo corruption . 3 The limits on
individual contributions were ruled by the Court to suppress the most basic First Amendment
activities. Citizens can deliver a protected speech with no limits under the First Amendment.
Funding political speech by independent corporate expenditures is a way of promoting
protected speech. In Citizens United v Federal Election Commission the Court found 441b to be
prohibiting the law. 441b restricted corporates from funding electoral politics. The Court
revealed that public speech should prevail despite the laws that would limit it either by design or
inadvertence. 4 The Court also made it abundantly clear that corruption interests can not oust
interests of protected speech. Corporate expenditure is a form of corporate speech and hence
should not be displaced by corruption interests.
Electioneering communications are intended to reach out and mobilize voters. Speech in
electoral politics entails reaching out to as many voters as possible and persuading them for
support. Televised advertisements such as films, movies and ads are constitutional channels of
delivering free speech. In Citizens United v. FEC, the Court found electioneering
communications “ not susceptibe of [a] reasonable interpretation other as an appeal to vote for or
2 “Buckley v. Valeo.” FEC.gov. Accessed October 26, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/legal-resources/court-
cases/buckley-v-valeo/.
3 “McCutcheon, Et Al. v. FEC,” FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/mccutcheon-et-al-v-fec/.
4 “Citizens United v. FEC,” FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/citizens-united-v-fec/

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against a specific candidate.” 5 Electioneering communication should serve to appeal to voters to
chose a specific candidate Travel expenses and costs of organizing functions is the way that
political action committees deliver protected speech. Voter outreach is vital to persuade voters to
participate in an election, and contributions cover the cost involved.
Money is indispensable in communicating to address a mass society today. To participate
and contend in effective electoral politics, Political action committees record exorbitant
ecpenditures. The FECA restrict expenditures in electoral politics by checking disbursments by
the political actions committess. Every means of communication today requires spending money.
The Court established in Buckley v. Valeo petition that expenditure ceiling in the FECA curtail
the quantity of free speech that can be delivered 6 . Viewing electoral funds as a form of protected
speech attracts more funding from individuals, groups, and corporations to attract more
candidates to engage in electoral politics encouraging inclusive democracy.
However, large expenditures by private individuals and corporations to finance electoral
politics are a form of corruption. The Federal Election Campaign limits the amount private
individuals can invest in federal candidates by establishing base limits. In Buckley v. Valeo case,
the Court upheld the curbing of contibutions to safeguard integrity of the electoral process. 7 The
Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
implement the base limit and the aggregate limit to curtail donations from individuals to the
candidates. The 'base limit' limits the amount donated in an election cycle, while the aggregate

5 “Citizens United v. FEC,” FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-resources/court-
cases/citizens-united-v-fec/
6 “Buckley v. Valeo.” FEC.gov. Accessed October 26, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/legal-resources/court-
cases/buckley-v-valeo/.
7 “Buckley v. Valeo.” FEC.gov. Accessed October 26, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/legal-resources/court-
cases/buckley-v-valeo/.

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limit is the ceiling amount an individual can contribute in an election cycle. Individual donors
may use exorbitant donations to gain influence over policy outcomes to favor their interests.
Donors might have hidden intentions of future reciprocities with candidates. Elected
public officials may feel indebted to the major donors and are inclined to support favorable
legislation, job appointments, and law-bending. The McCutcheon v. Federal Election
Commission (2014) limits individuals' contributions to political action committees in an election
cycle . 8 Political contributions offered with favor expectation are a form of bribe and suppress
integrity in the democratic system. The legislators shift purpose from being representatives of the
general public to preserving the interest of campaign contributors. Legislators may vote to pass
legislation in favor of their contributors at the expense of the general public.
Corporations and unions' contribution to fund election politics is a form of corruption
rather than communication. In Citizens United v Federal Election Commission ruling, the Court
denied unions and corporations the right to use their treasury funds to conduct individual
electioneering communications . 9 Citizens United wanted to block the application of the
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) that would affect its film Hillary, a form of political
communication. The BCRA prevented financing of such electioneering communications with
treasury funds from unions and corporations. The Court ruled in favor of the Federal Election
Commission upholding the BCRA.
The money in election campaigns' role to deliver protected speech is overbearing to
political corruption. Limiting and regulating political donations is against the Constitution's First

8 “McCutcheon, Et Al. v. FEC,” FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/mccutcheon-et-al-v-fec/.
9 “Citizens United v. FEC,” FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/citizens-united-v-fec/

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Amendment that protects the freedom of speech. First Amendment warrants that the Congress is
prohibited to make any laws that prohibit the freedom of speech. Election campaigns essentially,
if not entirely, rely on donations hence have much influence on electoral politics. Since money is
a form of speech, limiting campaign contributions restricts the impact of the political figures
campaigning. 10 Voter communication is vital to foster voter education and mobilization; hence
reducing campaign funding would destabilize the elections. Money spent during election politics
should be addressed as a form of protected speech. Viewing money contributed electoral
campaign as a form of corruption would render it illegitimate since corruption is a crime
Campaign funding may be a form of speech and corruption. There is much cost involved
for speech to be communicated to voters by the candidates; hence, spending for electoral politics
should not be limited. McCutcheon v. FEC, Citizens United v. FEC, and Buckley v. Valeo are
court legislations concerning spending on electoral politics. Protected speech is essential for
voter education and setting a campaign mood to achieve essential election campaigns. The
Federal Election sets up regulations to govern protected speech and regulate corruption in
electoral politics. Electoral donations by individuals and corporations for personal gains are
corruption. Viewing electoral funding as a form of speech is requisite to protect the first
amendment bill and facilitate smooth electoral politics. Money plays a noble purpose to deliver a
protected speech that

10 “Citizens United v. FEC,” FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/citizens-united-v-fec/

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Reference List

"Buckley v. Valeo." FEC.gov. Accessed October 26, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/buckley-v-valeo/.
"Citizens United v. FEC," FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/citizens-united-v-fec/.
"McCutcheon, Et Al. v. FEC," FEC.gov, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/legal-
resources/court-cases/mccutcheon-et-al-v-fec/.

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Works Cited