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“How to Get Your Free Money from Seattle’s New Public Campaign Financing System.”
The Stranger


The city of Seattle has just embarked on an unprecedented experiment in campaign-finance reform that forces property owners, through a new property tax, to sponsor the campaign contributions of other city residents. The city attracted nationwide attention in 2015 when it passed the first “democracy voucher” program, which is just now under way. The Pacific Legal Foundation, representing two property owners subject to the tax, has sued the city, arguing that the First Amendment forbids the city from compelling property owners to fund viewpoints they oppose.

At the start of this year, Seattle began mailing out four $25 vouchers to registered voters. Non-voters and even non-citizens can receive vouchers, too, upon request to the city. The vouchers can be used for only one purpose: campaign contributions for local elected office.

The idea is to give everyone a voice in politics — but at whose expense? Heralding the arrival of the vouchers, The Stranger — a left-leaning Seattle paper — published a gleeful article: “How to Get Your Free Money from Seattle’s New Public Campaign Financing System.” It sported an image of money falling from the sky into the hands of waiting voters.

But that money doesn’t rain down from above; it comes from the pockets of property owners, who are designated as the cash cows for other people’s political opinions.

This compelled subsidy for political donations violates the First Amendment. Freedom of speech embodies not only the right to speak, but also its corollary: the right not to speak. This includes the right to refrain from funding the speech of another person. After all, money talks, and when your money goes to promote a cause you don’t believe in, you’re the victim of political ventriloquism. The U.S. Supreme Court has called this a “bedrock principle” of the First Amendment — “that, except perhaps in the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.”

This speech tax, by forcing Seattle property owners to support the political views of their neighbors, tramples upon this bedrock principle.


The Supreme Court has upheld neutral public campaign funding in the past, but the democracy-voucher program is an altogether different beast. Since voucher recipients decide which candidates get this money based on their political preferences, the speech tax undermines dissenting views and entrenches popular ones. Unlike neutral public campaign-funding schemes, the voucher program smacks of partisan inequality. As the money flows according to the preferences of Seattle residents, candidates who subscribe to the dominant political view will receive the most largesse. Minority candidates will get outfunded. This does not cultivate the equality of ideas that the democracy-voucher program purports to champion — quite the opposite, in fact. source
What a load of tripe! Has the 9th ruled on this yet?
In what warped world is one segment designated to foot the political bill for the opposing segment?
Even to the point of subsidizing illegal residents' votes?!

This country has lost its mind on so many levels