46 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 900 (1971)
Campaign Spending Laws and the First Amendment

handle is hein.journals/nylr46 and id is 934 raw text is: CAMPAIGN SPENDING LAWS AND THE
FIRST AMENDMENT
MARTIN H. REDISH*
As the mass media has assumed an ever greater role in our
Nation's politics, the costs of campaigning for public office have dra-
matically increased. Many observers fear that candidates who do not
possess substantial personal wealth will be forced into a position
of dependence on large contributors and that the public interest may
therefore be seriously compromised. A commonly proposed solution
to this problem has been the enactment of legislated limits on cam-
paign spending, together with requirements that the source of all
campaign contributions be fully disclosed. While applauding the
ultimate goal of these measures, Mr. Redish argues that they may
contravene the right of free expression protected by the first amend-
ment. Rather than attempting to artificially restrict the ability of
wealthy candidates to communicate with the public, he feels that we
should reduce the importance of financial resources in political cam-
paigns by devising measures which will provide all candidates with
greater access to the media. Only in this manner, the author con-
eludes, will the interests of democratic self-government be truly
advanced.
I
INTRODUCTION
T HE strong tie between access to financial resources and the
ability to run for public office has long been noted by social
commentators.' To obtain the votes necessary for election, a can-
didate must get his message (or, given the strong influence of
Madison Avenue on many contemporary campaigns, his image)
across to the voting public. To accomplish this goal, a candidate
must have the necessary funds for newspaper, television and
radio advertising, as well as for the production of campaign lit-
erature and the renting of billboard space. Simply stated, the
more funds a candidate has available to him, the more vote-
getting communication he will be able to purchase.
* A.B., 1967, University of Pennsylvania; J.D., 1970, Harvard University.
Member of the New York Bar.
1 See, e.g., Kelly, Pogo, N.Y. Post, April 22, 1971, at 77.
Albert: When you says animals never got no money and so can't elect a
president-you misses the point of democracy . . . officials are
elected by votes, not dollars.
Pogo: And how's the candidate impress the voter?
Albert: Simple! He gets his message across usin' billboards, newspaper
ads, teevy time, and all like .. urn ... hmmm ... well, uh ...
nubslaggers! I be dogged.

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Law Review

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