Readers sound off on political money, free speech

Posted Sunday, Apr. 13, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, mnorman@star-telegram.com.

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Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down aggregate limits on how much money an individual may give to political campaigns and parties (the 2014 limit had been $123,200 for the two-year election cycle) but left in place the $5,200 maximum contribution to any single campaign. The majority framed its opinion as protecting freedom of speech.

Should we be more focused on protecting the political system from the uneven influence of money or on the freedom of individuals to use their money in the way they wish?

Now that the Koch brothers have been handed the keys to the kingdom, buying every position from dogcatcher to President for their loyal subjects, only one question remains: Which of them gets to wear the crown?

— Sharon Austry, Fort Worth

Until a way to cap campaign spending is devised, donations should be similarly uncapped.

The press loves to bash the Koch brothers while ignoring the monies donated by the unions. The Supreme Court simply leveled the playing field.

While I’m not a fan of campaign spending, period, if we’re going to allow it then make it fair. And raise the penalties on violations.

— Jeff Murray, Weatherford

Given the partisan Supreme Court’s recent decisions equating corporations to people and money to free speech, the welcome mat is out for the Koch brothers and a handful of other billionaires to openly buy our government now that graft has been legalized.

Since our public servants will no longer have to take their money under the table from their favored constituents, the least they can do is publish their price list so We the People could pass the hat and buy some legislation that would benefit the serfs for a change, otherwise three hundred million of us won’t stand a chance of ever being heard.

— Edward C. Wyman,

Fort Worth

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will have repercussions along both Republican and Democratic aisles.

The influence of money, lobbying and proselytizing is the major blood vein of politics. Elections can be bought and that’s why there were aggregate limits on the amount individuals could contribute to political parties. The thinking was to avoid a virtual monopoly by one party over the other.

Certainly, we should stay focused on the freedom of individuals to use their money in the way they wish; it’s their’s to spend. The three most revered words in our nation is “Freedom of Speech.”

Let it ring loud and clear!

— Sharon Barrow, Fort Worth

The Supreme Court rules what we knew all along. Money talks.

— Bruce Shults, Arlington

Regarding the article, “High court loosens campaign donation limits,” we no longer have elections; we have auctions.

— Mary Fulbright, Fort Worth

Spending is the antecedent of speech. Spending is the enabler of speech. But spending is not speech!

There should be no more contributions to individual candidates only to the party.

Once nomination is secured, the party becomes the principal, the nominee is the agent. This would weaken the influence of billionaires, strengthen state parties by giving them leverage over the national parties, and make state and national parties more responsive and more responsible .

— Paul R. Schattman, Arlington

Government of the few for the few is surely not what our founding fathers envisioned.

Change can only come with the vote.

Everyone must vote to save our past and protect our future and make sure our government is not sold to the highest bidder.

— James L. Anton, Arlington

It would be quicker and easier to allow offices in Washington and all the state capitols to be set up ready to take orders.

The donor could go to one of these offices and purchase the seat they are interested in. Why go to the pretense of donating to a campaign when the end result is buying the seat?

The Supreme Court seems to have forgotten that this is a democratic society based on a fair and equal vote for all.

— Teri Flanagan, Fort Worth

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