By Quin Hillyer at The Washington Examiner;

Note: Harvey Weinstein apparently is a horrid person. Nothing in this column has anything to do with how objectionable Weinstein is. It uses his case as an example to make a broader point, based on consistent and neutral principles, consistently applied. — Quin


Politicians should be under no obligation to return campaign donations from serial-harassing Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Particularly, it is logically incoherent for conservatives who support the Citizens United v. FEC campaign finance regime to call for the return of Weinstein’s money, or indeed for the return of donations from just about anyone subsequently revealed to be unsavory. Unless there is some connection between the donor’s behavior and that of the politician, or reason to think the politician knew at the time he accepted the donation that the donor was unusually degenerate, then the politician is not morally compromised by the cash.

If politicians are to be held accountable for the behavior of all their donors, where is the line to be drawn between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” contributions? Is the cash okay if it comes from a donor who regularly finds ways to stiff contractors and get away with it, but not alright if it comes from a guy caught failing to report all his income to the IRS?

Is a serial adulterer still an admissible contributor, but not a serial-but-legal phone “sexter”? And how is the politician supposed to know, anyway? Should he have a private eye on staff to ensure the moral fitness of everyone who financially supports his campaign?

If the office seeker had no knowledge of the sin, why is he answerable for it ex post facto if he accepted and then spent the donation?

These questions are especially valid for Citizens United supporters. Citizens United v. FECwas the Supreme Court case, detested by leftists, which loosened or eliminated many regulations that formerly limited political spending (especially for corporations or associations).

At the heart of the Left’s web of arguments in favor of the regulations, and thus against the decision invalidating them, was that the raising and spending of political money is inherently corrupting. The Left in effect posited that any politician who benefits from corporate spending, either directly or indirectly, will thus be beholden to that corporate interests.

Most conservatives said this was absurd. Conservatives said that unless some obvious quid pro quo or change of a policy stance results from the donation, the assumption must be that the donors are merely supporting politicians of like-minded principles, rather than buying fealty with cash on the nail.

Conservatives argued that the preventatives for campaign corruption are not more restrictions on speech, but more chances for speech to be heard…..

[The full column is here.]

 

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