Is spending money protected by the First Amendment?
Most people think, “Hey, money’s money; it’s not speech. It’s not religion.” But imagine if the government said, you can
have any religion you want. You can practice any religion you want; you just can’t spend
any money to build churches or buy hymnals or engage in church missionary or charitable
work. Imagine if the government said, “Oh you’re
free to operate a newspaper or a radio station; you just can’t spend any money to do it.”
Or maybe, “You can’t spend more than, say, $25,000 a year to do it.” Imagine if the government said you’re free
to speak, but you can’t buy a megaphone so that people can hear your voice a little
more clearly. Is spending money on a campaign speech? You
know it’s pretty hard to run a political campaign or communicate your views to any
number of people without spending money. If the government controls the money, it controls
the speech. So should spending money for the purposes of political speech be protected
by the first amendment? You tell me.