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10.2.08

More than ethics at stake for Jindal at special session

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal gave a pep talk to the troops hankering for ethics reform as well as a plea, and challenge, to the legislators who have to make it happen at the opening of the 2008 First Extraordinary Session of the Legislature. Despite strong support from many quarters, meaningful ethics reform in politics is by no means a “slam dunk” for Jindal and its proponents because of two forces that don’t want to see much in the way of changes – those for whom the changes would cramp their style, and those who don’t want to see Jindal off to a good start.

While those who would not like tougher standards are far fewer than those who do, those who don’t have disproportionate power in the process, for the most part legislators themselves and special interests whose machinations are aided by reduced transparency. Some of what Jindal calls the “squealing hogs” merely voice code- and carefully worded opposition, while others take more active measures to try to make the attempt look farcical.

For a specific example for the former, when Democrat maiden state Rep. Rosalind Jones – whose father in the Legislature drew 11 ethics rebukes – complains that legislators who hold contractual relationships that could be outlawed under these reforms should be grandfathered in, it’s a veiled jab at the entire idea, but one she knows is probably too popular for her to defeat. For a general example, we can views Democrat state Sen. Joe McPherson’s whining that “It’s the oddest call I’ve ever seen as far as the specificity of it. This is another governor who says, ‘It’s my way or the highway’” – a sentiment directly contradicted by other legislators such as Republican House leader state Rep. Jane Smith who said the administration’s willingness to work with the Legislature is one reason she believes Jindal’s package will pass.

The latter group is represented by the likes of Democrat state Sen. Ben Nevers, who has offered legislation (SB 20) that would prevent elected officials from running from another elective office and another (SB 23) that would prohibit the governor from appointing anybody to anything who contributed to his campaign. The former serves absolutely no ethical purpose and the latter is a deliberate attempt to discourage exercise of free speech rights. These will go nowhere, and then some of the hogs will create a straw man criticism that governor either isn’t serious enough about reform, or that their extreme bills are the logical extensions of his ideas and that such extremism of ideas should be defeated.

Looking towards a global perspective, there are those who want to make sure Jindal politically gains little luster from the session because they want to reduce his power for the future. Strategically, Jindal’s move to have the session is crafty. He picked a subject area with widespread popular support as the first opportunity to legislate for many, especially in the House with rookies comprising over half of it, many of whom evoked ethics in their campaigns – and who have not seen the temptations that lax ethics standards could entice them into opposition. If Jindal can get at least half of the agenda the way he wants and the other half in a semblance of the way he wants, his power will magnify for the next contemplated special session on economics and the regular session, which will feature the slaughtering of a lot of sacred cows for which he’ll need all the power he can get.

So there will be a struggle only partially related to the specific content of the ethical reforms. By design, a larger conflict will play out with ethics as the battlefield – but the place of conflict chosen by Jindal, which will give him an advantage in the long term. As long as the majority of Jindal’s agenda is not defeated or is diluted into near-vapidity, he wins this battle and gains advantage in the larger conflicts ahead. Otherwise, he may have trouble living up to high expectations that have formed around his governorship.

11 comments:

Daniel Z. said...

"the latter is a deliberate attempt to discourage exercise of free speech rights."

While a person does have the right to make campaign contributions, they do not have the right to be appointed to an office by the Governor. The only people who would be discouraged from making campaign contributions are those who want government employment and feel that the only way to obtain it is to give a campaign donation.

Jeff Sadow said...

>While a person does have the right to make campaign contributions, they do not have the right to be appointed to an office by the Governor.

Illogical, half-baked, and misses the point entirely. A contribution is a form of political speech, so you are arguing that to be appointed to office you must give up your right to speak out about politics in this format which is not substitutable with any other. If we identify the communication of ideas -- i.e., helping to finance a candidate that articulates those ideas -- as a bedrock principle of a free, democratic society, your idea violates that.

Further, it relies on the facile assumption, long disproven by hordes of researchers, that money buys influence in politics. Access perhaps, but not influence. Just think it through, tens of thousands of people gave to Jindal, for example. A few hundred at most -- many not even his contributors -- will be appointed by him. So all these other people failed to "buy" an office, in this simplistic formulation? If so many fail, then where is the quid pro quo you so blindly assume?

Finally, restricting free speech rights that discourages some people's input into the process only empowers other organizations or people. This would magnify the electability of candidates who rely on their own resoources and disadvantage those that cannot. And it would do nothing to discourage those who create or take advantage of 527 organizations to go around such a law. Indeed, the organizations' input would become more substantial at the expense of others, whose motives are far more difficult to uncover than tracking the transparency in reporting of individual contributions.

Courts have consistently ruled that political donations are exercises of free speech that can be limited only in amount. Further, they also have sided with the doctrine that there must be a compelling state interest in the curtailing of free speech liberties. There's obviously no such interest present in this restriction either in a person's exercising this right, or, for that matter, a winner's right to appoint who he pleases subject to constitutional or legal qualifications (thus your false dichotomy).

Try again.

Daniel Z. said...

"A contribution is a form of political speech, so you are arguing that to be appointed to office you must give up your right to speak out about politics in this format which is not substitutable with any other. "

No, I am saying that if your desire is to get a public appointment that you will not be able to buy your way into the governors office. Your argument that a monetary campaign contribution is "not substitutable" with any other form of political speech is illogical. People seeking government employment under a specific candidate would be able to erect signs in their yard, put bumper stickers on their cars, wear other campaign gear, volunteer to make phone calls, hand out fliers, and do many other things that are quite valuable to a campaign.

"If we identify the communication of ideas -- i.e., helping to finance a candidate that articulates those ideas -- as a bedrock principle of a free, democratic society, your idea violates that."

While it is true that financing of candidates should be a part of a free and democratic society, this was not "my idea" (though I do support it) and the idea does not violate that principle. It is currently illegal for people who own casinos to make campaign contributions. Such restrictions have not been ruled to violate those individuals free speech rights. Or would you argue that casino owners should be allowed to make campaign contributions as well?

"Further, it relies on the facile assumption, long disproven by hordes of researchers, that money buys influence in politics."

Who are these researchers? Perhaps you can provide a link to the hordes of researchers that claim "Money does not buy influence in politics". Is it any wonder that Jimmy Faircloth is Bobby Jindal's executive council? He contributed the maximum to his campaign (and his law firm also contributed to his campaign as well).

"Just think it through, tens of thousands of people gave to Jindal, for example. A few hundred at most -- many not even his contributors -- will be appointed by him. So all these other people failed to "buy" an office, in this simplistic formulation? If so many fail, then where is the quid pro quo you so blindly assume?"

Where in my argument did I make the claim that people only contribute to try and buy an office? I did not, so your argument is already flawed.

However, there are many people (at many levels of government) who make contributions for the purpose of either getting a prime appointment, getting a government contract, or getting legislation passed that would be favorable to their businesses. Anyone who would reject that this happens is naive at best.

"Finally, restricting free speech rights that discourages some people's input into the process only empowers other organizations or people. This would magnify the electability of candidates who rely on their own resoources and disadvantage those that cannot."

Louisiana law allows corporate campaign contributions. Federal law does not. Many people have been elected to Federal offices who did not rely on their own resources. So again, your argument is flawed.

"And it would do nothing to discourage those who create or take advantage of 527 organizations to go around such a law. Indeed, the organizations' input would become more substantial at the expense of others, whose motives are far more difficult to uncover than tracking the transparency in reporting of individual contributions."

Well, then perhaps we need to work of fixing the problems surrounding 527 organizations and not use that as an excuse to allow people to purchase their way into government employment.

"Courts have consistently ruled that political donations are exercises of free speech that can be limited only in amount."

My casino example proves you wrong.

"Further, they also have sided with the doctrine that there must be a compelling state interest in the curtailing of free speech liberties."

The elimination of the ability of a person to purchase their way into a government appointment is quite compelling. I am sorry that you do not agree. People should not have the right to bribe elected officials to get what they want. Giving large contributions to a candidate for the purpose of getting a government appointment is clearly a bribe.

"There's obviously no such interest present in this restriction either in a person's exercising this right, or, for that matter, a winner's right to appoint who he pleases subject to constitutional or legal qualifications (thus your false dichotomy)."

Just because you say that there is no such interest does not make it so. Again, i find it quite compelling that we would eliminate the ability of someone to bribe their way into government employment. But hey, if you think that bribes are free speech then go right ahead and keep believing it.

Jeff Sadow said...

>if your desire is to get a public appointment that you will not be able to buy your way into the governors office.

False assumption, once again. Let's think about the logic here -- usng Jindal as an exmaple, there are many people he will have appointed who never gave him any. Also, there will be those who gave the maximum that won't get any appointment, even if that's what they desired. Therefore, we may conclude that money does not "buy" an office. So what's the justification for limiting free speech here?

And related to this ... I will be glad to send you syllabi in courses such as Polticial Parties and Political Behavior with the relevant chapters in the relvenat texts noted which review the large literature produced by political scientists, but occasionally economists and communication studies people, whih show spending money almost never determines the outcome of an election and that giving money almost never influences the behavior of legislators. Again, use your head: do you seriously think $2,500 to a campaign by itself is going to convince a governor to do one thing or the other? Especially when you've got many others like that and some of them probably will be for the opposite issue preference?

>Where in my argument did I make the claim that people only contribute to try and buy an office?

Reread your post, that's what you did and that's what the reference in the original posting was about. But if you read the above paragraph, you'll learn where the consensus is on that larger issue as well.

>there are many people (at many levels of government) who make contributions for the purpose of either getting a prime appointment, getting a government contract, or getting legislation passed that would be favorable to their businesses.

Sure, but as noted above that doesn't mean they're going to get it. So, again, no compelling justification to deny free speech rights.

>The elimination of the ability of a person to purchase their way into a government appointment is quite compelling.

You can say that all you want, but the evidence is such you can't prove it theoretically or empirically.

>Just because you say that there is no such [compelling] interest does not make it so.

By contrast, as you can note above, I have demonstrated that.

>Louisiana law allows corporate campaign contributions ...

So what?

>... Many people have been elected to Federal offices who did not rely on their own resources. So again, your argument is flawed.

Logic check, again. Because one fails to get elected or not doesn't mean being able to rely on own resources isn't an advantage that in some cases can tip an election one way or the other. It's not an either/or situation.

>My casino example proves you wrong [about courts limiting individual donations].

At the state level, that is correct because that is an area of regulation (gambling, under the general police powers of the Constitution) left to the states (although the ability to do so does not mean that it is correct to do so, just as in the case of this bill). So what about all the citizens who are not enagged in a comemrcial activity regulated by the state who would be denied free speech rights under this bill? Still no compelling justification.

>[The] argument that a monetary campaign contribution is "not substitutable" with any other form of political speech is illogical.

Think more clearly. All the alternatives you mention also cost money and are derivations of a person's ability to give money to a candidate -- unless, of course, we are talking again about the candidate with his own substantial resources. One depends on the other and therefore they are not substitutable.

Your whole argument smacks of tossing the baby out with the bathwater. Just because some people think they can get a leg up on an appointive position in government doesn't mean we have to take away the free speech rights of the vast majority of others. There's no compelling case for taking away these rights from individuals and in the process transferring polticial power into the hands of those people and organizations with resources that would not be limited by such a law.

Daniel Z. said...

"Let's think about the logic here -- usng Jindal as an exmaple, there are many people he will have appointed who never gave him any."

That does not disprove my statement. Even if 10% of the appointments are purchased, that still means that people are able to purchase them.

"Also, there will be those who gave the maximum that won't get any appointment, even if that's what they desired."

What is the "maximum", really, when corporations can contribute as well? The answer.... the only "maximum" campaign donation is the number of corporations you own.

"Therefore, we may conclude that money does not "buy" an office. So what's the justification for limiting free speech here?"

You are using the false logic that just because something doesn't happen all the time that it doesn't happen at all.

"Again, use your head: do you seriously think $2,500 to a campaign by itself is going to convince a governor to do one thing or the other? "

No. But when people can circumvent campaign finance laws and funnel multiple "maximum donations" to a candidate, you will likely be able to purchase the influence.

">Where in my argument did I make the claim that people only contribute to try and buy an office?

Reread your post, that's what you did and that's what the reference in the original posting was about."

Actually, you need to re-read my post. I never made the assertion that the only reason to contribute is to buy an office. I made the assertion that SOME people do it, not all. Many people donate because they think that candidate is the best person for the job. And I clearly stated that those people would not have their right to free speech infringed in anyway.

"Sure, but as noted above that doesn't mean they're going to get it."

">The elimination of the ability of a person to purchase their way into a government appointment is quite compelling.

You can say that all you want, but the evidence is such you can't prove it theoretically or empirically."

Keeping it legal to give bribes for appointments continues the perception that Louisiana government is for sale. Isn't that what Jindal is supposedly trying to solve?

">Louisiana law allows corporate campaign contributions ...

So what?"

My whole quote was "Louisiana law allows corporate campaign contributions. Federal law does not." The point I was making was to show that limitations in campaign contributions exist and not to the detriment of candidates who have won.

"Logic check, again. Because one fails to get elected or not doesn't mean being able to rely on own resources isn't an advantage that in some cases can tip an election one way or the other. It's not an either/or situation."

John Georges, Steve Forbes, Ross Perot... how many wealthy people would have to run for office to show you that personal wealth is not all you crack it up to be in an election.

"At the state level, that is correct because that is an area of regulation (gambling, under the general police powers of the Constitution) left to the states (although the ability to do so does not mean that it is correct to do so, just as in the case of this bill). So what about all the citizens who are not enagged in a comemrcial activity regulated by the state who would be denied free speech rights under this bill? Still no compelling justification."

I used the ban on contributions on casino owners to show that there are cases where the complete ban on campaign contributions from a certain class of people (casino owners) is not a violation of their free speech rights (according to the courts).

There are also other examples where people are banned from giving campaign contributions because of their employment. Take civil service for example. Civil servants are not allowed to take part in ANY political activity. They, like government appointments, do not have the "right" to that job. They choose to take the job, knowing that if they do so their political activities will be restricted. And as long as you go into the job knowing the rules, and you still go for the job, it is not an example of government stripping anyone of their free speech rights because they are choosing to do so of their own free will.

So what is the compelling interest to prevent people from getting political appointments who donated money to the campaign of the office holder? Well, one reason is that apparently the Governor believes employers funneling money through their employees is a big deal. So what is to stop the office holder from hiring people to a government position with the understanding that they will get paid $X more in salary than normal and they are expected to contribute that money back to his reelection campaign? Should the governor have the ability to funnel tax dollars to his reelection campaign? Yes or no.

"Your whole argument smacks of tossing the baby out with the bathwater."

Well, if you use that analogy, you are acknoledging the bathwater needs to be tossed out.

"Just because some people think they can get a leg up on an appointive position in government doesn't mean we have to take away the free speech rights of the vast majority of others."

Wait a second. Who is saying that the free speech rights of the vast majority of others are being taken away with this legislation? If we tell people who want government appointments that they cannot contribute to the campaign of the person making the appointments, that has absolutely no effect on the vast majority of people who are not trying to get government appointments.

"There's no compelling case for taking away these rights from individuals "

Sure there is. See the example I gave with the governor funneling tax dollars to his campaign (and the governors belief that employers funneling money to campaigns via their employees happens enough that a law needs to be written about that).

"and in the process transferring polticial power into the hands of those people and organizations with resources that would not be limited by such a law."

Then we should deal with those other issues as well. We shouldn't just allow people to bribe their way into government because other people can circumvent the law that would prevent such bribes. We should make it so people cannot circumvent the law.

The bottom line is this. People do not have the right to be employed by their government. Because of this, government has the authority make some restrictions on the political activities to both protect those employees from retribution for their political activities and to prevent people from using government employees to funnel tax dollars to their own campaigns.

Anonymous said...

Facile?

A law professor and an economics professor from Tulane recently did a study showing that campaign contributions significantly influence outcomes in the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Tulane Law Review will publish the full report soon, but several newspapers have already reported this story.

Would you have us believe that such influence only happens in the third branch?

Jeff Sadow said...

You keep wandering off the central point -- donations in and of themselves are not the sole, or even primary determinant of appointments, and almost always have little, if anything, to do with an appointment. Therefore, considering the cost to free speech if donations are not allowed, it's a poor argument to say that prospective appointees should not be allowed to donate. (The "baby," by the way in the analogy that you missed, is free speech rights exercised by donation, while the bathwater is the occassional donation made as an explicit "bribe" attempt on the part of the giver.)

A donation could have something to do with an appointment but balancing that with free speech rights in this case is not compelling for there to be a restriction. (In the example of classified civil servants, the restictions that are in place is there more to protect them than anything else, from undue pressure of officeholders to compel money out of them in order to keep their jobs.)

Nothing in your argument satisfactorily refutes this, not even the additional point concerning trying to funnel money through corporate employees as practiced by Landrieu and Clinton. You need not mantras of "bribery" to make your argument convincing, but empirical proof. For example, if you have the time, take Jindal's cabinet appointees, see how much they donated, look for all the donations made by entities affiliated with them in some way, add them up, and tell me then about all the bribery going on.

>The bottom line is this. People do not have the right to be employed by their government.

But they do have the right to exercise free speech that should not cost them opportunities for government service (except when it is to protect them in the case of classified civil servants). That is the essence of liberty in America.

And,
>Would you have us believe that such influence only happens in the third branch?

No, but you brought up an different subject, not appointments but policy influence.

Daniel Z. said...

"You keep wandering off the central point -- donations in and of themselves are not the sole, or even primary determinant of appointments, and almost always have little, if anything, to do with an appointment."

In most cases Ill agree. Most donations are made by people who don't want appointments. Most appointments are made by people who don't donate. None of those people have their rights infringed in any way with this law.

"Therefore, considering the cost to free speech if donations are not allowed, it's a poor argument to say that prospective appointees should not be allowed to donate."

The cost to free speech are only to those who donate and want appointments. You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

"(The "baby," by the way in the analogy that you missed, is free speech rights exercised by donation, while the bathwater is the occassional donation made as an explicit "bribe" attempt on the part of the giver.)"

I absolutely did not miss what the baby was. I stated that by you using the analogy, that you admit the bathwater (bribes for public appointment) exists.

So unless you are saying that the bribes are ok, the baby DOES NOT get thrown out with the bathwater.

"A donation could have something to do with an appointment but balancing that with free speech rights in this case is not compelling for there to be a restriction."

I would argue that free speech rights do not include the ability to give bribes. I'm sure the courts would agree. Restricting someone from being able to bribe someone to get an appointment is absolutely compelling. And such a ban would not restrict anyone elses donation ability.

"(In the example of classified civil servants, the restictions that are in place is there more to protect them than anything else, from undue pressure of officeholders to compel money out of them in order to keep their jobs."

But it is still an example of where person taking some action is legally prohibited from making contributions.

"For example, if you have the time, take Jindal's cabinet appointees, see how much they donated, look for all the donations made by entities affiliated with them in some way, add them up, and tell me then about all the bribery going on."

So are you making the argument that if most of the cabinet did not bribe their way in, that it would automatically mean that others did not either? If you are, there is no reason to further discuss this with you. It is probable that MOST people got into office on their merits while OTHERS got in because of their donations.

One example is Jimmy Faircloth. If you search “Faircloth” in the campaign finance database, you will see that between the 2003 and 2007 elections, Faircloth has contributed $30,000 between his own personal contributions and his corporation Faircloth Davidson Vilar & Elliott LLC (of which he is the registered agent and “member”). And now magically he is the "best choice" for executive council?

"But they do have the right to exercise free speech that should not cost them opportunities for government service (except when it is to protect them in the case of classified civil servants). That is the essence of liberty in America."

Government service "is a privilege, and not a right."
(Jindal's words, not mine). Government service should be based on "what you know" and not "who you know" (Jindal's words, not mine). I actually agree with Jindal on those statements. The fact that you can say "except" shows that restricting someone's ability to serve can very well be justified if it prevents unethical behavior. Banning people from serving who donated helps to prevent bribes. Bribes are not covered under the 1st amendment. So is illogical to state that anyone has their rights infringed when they are prevented from donating and serving.

One unrelated thing I wonder about you is this. Do you support the wiretapping laws and allowing the government to search our phone records? It seems to me that this would be a much larger assault on our liberty then preventing campaign contributors from serving as a government appointment. However, if I had to bet, I would wager that you support that legislation. Which to me would make your arguments about "american liberty" to be less than genuine and to actually be rooted in the goal of pushing the Republican agenda.

Jeff Sadow said...

I guess I'm not getting through to you. Maybe if I explain it this way: to be a "bribe," both parties have to recognize it as such. There may be those giving who think they're "buying" an office but if that's not in the mind of the receiver, none of it matters. So typically we're not even talking about "bribes."

Also, don't be so simplistic as to think there's such a direct relationship between donations and appointments. As I have noted in the literature before, that's hardly the case, mainly because the most successful/powerful politicians get money from so many, often opposing sides they can do whatever they like. So what if Faircloth gave the maximum and so did others in his firm? I'll bet there are other lawyers and firms that gave even more and didn't get anything. And, relating to the above paragraph, it's all right if somebody thinks the sole purpose of his donation is to put him in the running for a job, but that doesn't mean he'll get it, and even if it does his donation only got him access while other things -- job skills, etc. -- achieve the outcome of a job, as the literature would suggest.

Finally, if a few donations coming to a candidate are from those the primary purpose of which is to get a job, that's a very small price to pay (if you can consider it something negative) for the freedom that is protected. The right to express your views by donations made is so fundamental that it should not be forbidden for even those few who want to parlay a donation into an appointment. Since offices are typically not bought, the "ill" from it is so infinitesimal that it cannot hope to offset the size of the benefits of exercise of liberty and contribution to the public good. Or, as I tell my classes, this right is so fundamental that any fool can go out and not just give to the limit, but then with personal funds in an indirect way may blow as much as he wants advocating any candidate or cause no matter how ridiculous.

>Do you support the wiretapping laws and allowing the government to search our phone records?

As currently construed under law, yes. Constitutional protections are sufficient, the governemnt's object is both compelling and reasonably related to very important policy goals, and, in the end, if you aren't committing criminal activity, you don't have anything to worry about. This is why it differs from the donation question: that one is not compelling and the prohibition does not reasonably relate to the goal.

Daniel Z. said...

" Maybe if I explain it this way: to be a "bribe," both parties have to recognize it as such. There may be those giving who think they're "buying" an office but if that's not in the mind of the receiver, none of it matters. "

I guess you don't see the possibility that Jindal would be more than willing to reward big campaign contributors with appointments if they want it.

"So what if Faircloth gave the maximum and so did others in his firm? "

Faircloth got an appointment others didn't. And he gave more than the maximum by using the firm.

"I'll bet there are other lawyers and firms that gave even more and didn't get anything. "

And those lawyers and other people may not have wanted anything back for their contributions, so they would not be restricted in giving those funds. I am not looking to stop THOSE people to give funds (well, with the exception that they shouldn't be able to give more because they shouldn't be able to use corporations to incraease the amount they can funnel to a candidate)

"And, relating to the above paragraph, it's all right if somebody thinks the sole purpose of his donation is to put him in the running for a job, but that doesn't mean he'll get it,"

Someone may want to give a bribe.. and that is unethical, regardless of whether the bribe is accepted. People should know that they cannot get anywhere with bribes. They shouldn't even want to try.

"Finally, if a few donations coming to a candidate are from those the primary purpose of which is to get a job, that's a very small price to pay (if you can consider it something negative) for the freedom that is protected."

The freedom is still protected for all those who dont want government appointments... something that i dont see you getting. Because if you did get that, the only freedom that is protected is the freedom to give a bribe.

"The right to express your views by donations made is so fundamental that it should not be forbidden for even those few who want to parlay a donation into an appointment."

No, people who want to give donations to get something in return for those donations should not be protected in doing so.

Read the definition of bribe... clearly such a contribution falls under that definition. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bribe

"As currently construed under law, yes. Constitutional protections are sufficient, the governemnt's object is both compelling and reasonably related to very important policy goals, and, in the end, if you aren't committing criminal activity, you don't have anything to worry about. "

I don't remember reading that I should have nothing to worry about if I did anything wrong in the Constitution. In fact, such justification to come in and just search your property on a whim was something used by the USSR. They would also say "if you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about". But that justification flies in the face of liberty. Would you be ok if the police stopped you in the middle of the street and demanded to see the contents of your pockets and your wallet whenever they so desired?

Jeff Sadow said...

>"Finally, if a few donations coming to a candidate are from those the primary purpose of which is to get a job, that's a very small price to pay (if you can consider it something negative) for the freedom that is protected."

>The freedom is still protected for all those who dont want government appointments... something that i dont see you getting. Because if you did get that, the only freedom that is protected is the freedom to give a bribe.

>"The right to express your views by donations made is so fundamental that it should not be forbidden for even those few who want to parlay a donation into an appointment."

>No, people who want to give donations to get something in return for those donations should not be protected in doing so.

The freedom I refer to is the right of free speech which, again, is so fundamental that even if you have some "bad" or "impure" speech representing by donation with the sole intent to secure a job and wish to filter it out, in doing so it would cause a greater harm to restrict the speech of those who might get a job with a donation being a part of that rationale for giving.

>Read the definition of bribe... clearly such a contribution falls under that definition. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bribe

But they aren't the same thing. We might be mammals, but that doesn't mean you and an ape are the same thing.

>Would you be ok if the police stopped you in the middle of the street and demanded to see the contents of your pockets and your wallet whenever they so desired?

No, because from the first part of "Constitutional protections are sufficient, the governemnt's object is both compelling and reasonably related to very important policy goals, and, in the end, if you aren't committing criminal activity, you don't have anything to worry about," such a whimsical stop does not meet the test. Which the Soviets never bothered with.