Is Money Speech?

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Does that freedom extend to the way people spend their money? Is money a form of speech? Professor Bradley Smith shows how money is needed to communicate ideas and to establish organizations. For example, what if citizens are allowed to have newspapers or radio stations but the government says they cannot spend any money, or can spend only a limited amount of money, to run them? Such a restriction would seem to limit citizens’ freedom of the press.

It would be difficult to be elected in a political campaign without spending any money to reach out to voters. If the government controls the money spent in political campaigns, it also controls the speech. So is spending money on a campaign speech? What do you think? Please leave your answers in the comments.

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