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posted: 9/21/2012 4:40 AM

When money = speech, speech isn't free

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I woke up one morning with an idea for a get-rich-quick scheme. I'm going to get Congress to pass a "Make Me Filthy Rich" bill. It's a perfect way to give myself a giant economic advantage over everyone else. The question is, how best to get this bill passed?

The first way is obvious: I can bribe some Congressmen to pass my bill. Of course, then both the Congressmen and I could go to prison. Maybe not.

Alternately, I can send out a questionnaire to all the members of Congress. It will ask, "Would you like to see the "Make Me Filthy Rich" bill pass?" Disregarding the no's, I then have only to contribute enough money to those candidates who support my bill.

I could give directly in limited amounts, or in unlimited amounts to a SuperPAC.

Or, best option yet, give anonymously and limitlessly to a 501(c) 4. We have a winner.

Any one of these options is perfectly legal. I could spend as much money as it takes to buy my bill into law ... if I actually had it.

Only the already very rich special interests have that ability, such as oil companies and Wall Street firms, and unions. They already employ this scheme, and receive special favor and subsidy far in excess of what would be considered reasonable if put to popular vote.

When money is considered speech, speech is no longer free. Suddenly you are only entitled to as much freedom and democracy as your own wallet will allow, and the words of the rich will ring out louder than the voices of those who need most to be heard.

Stand up for democracy when you vote this November. There is an advisory question on all the ballots in Kane County that asks if you would support a Constitutional Amendment to limit spending in politics. Please, say "Yes."

Steve Bruesewitz

St. Charles

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