by Locker Room contributor
It?s a topic that?s attracted attention from Daren Bakst. Now George Will?s latest Newsweek column focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court?s decision to take up an Arizona case involving a dispute over taxpayer-financed election campaigns.
Will notes the absurdity of Arizona?s law:
Arizona?s law punishes candidates who do not accept taxpayer funding and the limits on spending that come with it. Those are limits on what most political spending finances?the dissemination of political speech. Taxpayer-funded candidates receive additional tax dollars?up to double their original infusion?to match funds raised by candidates who, relying on voluntary contributions, spend above the limits.
There is an astonishing additional provision to punish political speech the government disfavors: When independent political groups?groups that cannot coordinate with, let alone be controlled by, candidates?spend what the government considers too much in opposition to a publicly funded candidate, or in favor of a privately funded candidate, the government gives matching funds not to independent groups supporting the publicly funded candidate but directly to that candidate?and to any other publicly funded candidates seeking the same office. But independent expenditures in support of publicly funded candidates, or in opposition to privately funded candidates, trigger no matching funds for privately funded candidates. So, if an independent group spends $10,000 to fund speech on behalf of a privately funded candidate in a race against three publicly funded candidates, those three get almost $30,000 to spend on speech against him.