GEORGE F. WILL: Minnesota and the cost of campaign restrictions - Owatonna MN: Guest Columns

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GEORGE F. WILL: Minnesota and the cost of campaign restrictions

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George F. Will

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 12:00 pm | Updated: 6:27 pm, Wed May 21, 2014.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota says it has 10,000 lakes. The state also has, according to Anthony Sanders, “10,000 campaign finance laws.” He exaggerates, but understandably. As an attorney for Minnesota’s chapter of the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, Sanders represents several Minnesotans whose First Amendment rights of free speech and association are burdened by an obviously arbitrary, notably complex and certainly unconstitutional restriction.

Linda Runbeck is a Republican state legislator who is allowed to spend in her campaign — most spending finances dissemination of speech — only $62,600. She is not challenging this speech limit, although it is so low it prevents her from advertising on this city’s television stations, whose broadcasts reach many of the state’s voters. Rather, she is challenging the “special sources” provision that makes even more onerous the $1,000 limit on what any person can give her.

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