Dina Galassini never set out in 2011 to be at the center of the clash between the right of free speech and our election laws. All she wanted to do was protest a Fountain hills, Az bond issue. She emailed 23 friends to band with her to make some homemade signs, join her in a couple of rallies and write some letters to the editor. She estimated it cost $25. Just the kind of thing the first amendment was written to protect. Not in Fountain Hills. Upon learning of her plans, the town clerk sent her a letter urging “cease any campaign related activities” until she had registered as a “political committee” under Arizona law. This started her two-year plus Odyssey through Arizona Election Law. Supported by the Institute for Justice, it culminated in September 30, 2013 with Federal Judge James A. Teilborg striking down Arizona’s campaign finance scheme. He formalized this decision this past December. While pleased with her victory, it got us to wondering how it even came this. After all, the First Amendment along with the rest of Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution to protect us from despotism.
We don’t have to harken back to King George to get an idea what Madison and his cohorts were trying to protect against. Just imagine the current despots in say Russia or Venezuela with similar laws. Wouldn’t they love to have a list of their opponents financial supporters. How likely would anybody to contribute to the opposition if these guys had that information. Better still it would allow them to entangle their opposition and their supporters in endless confusing laws and regulations that could result in convictions and maybe even imprisonment. Continue reading