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Red flags flying in Montpelier

If the campaign finance bill, S.278, is passed by the Vermont Legislature as it is, a predicted result is a Supreme Court battle that could end with the elimination of all campaign finance regulation whatsoever. Alan Gilbert of the ACLU and Atty. James Bopp testified before the Senate Government Operations Committee last week. Gilbert cautioned, "You always have to consider your chance of winning [another lawsuit]. If you bring a lawsuit and it goes against you, you could actually make the situation worse." Recent judgments by the Supreme Court that further restrict government regulation in First Amendment cases caused concern that S.278 could ultimately provide the platform for the Court to eliminate governments ability to regulate political speech entirely. Gilberts testimony followed that of James Bopp, the attorney who argued and won the landmark First Amendment case, Randall v. Sorrell, striking down Vermonts previous campaign finance law (Act 64) with its spending and contribution limits. Subsequently, Bopp won another Supreme Court Case, Wisconsin Right to Life v FEC, striking down as unconstitutional limits on electioneering communications. In the case of this latest bill, Bopp told the committee, "S.278 is not complying with the Constitution, but defying the Constitution." Rob Roper
Vermont Republican Party

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