Politics: Freedom for the Pacs

Freedom for the Pacs

One unintended consequence of the election reforms that emerged in the wake of the Watergate scandal was the proliferation of political action committees (PACs). In presidential general elections, the law decrees that independent PACs--ones that act on their own and are not authorized by a candidate--can spend only $1,000 touting their choice. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 last week that such limits are a violation of free speech. Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority, compared it to "allowing a speaker in a public hall to express his views while denying him the use of an amplifying system."...

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