Brief Fact Summary. State regulated the amount citizens could contribute to political campaigns.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Restricting campaign expenditure is an unconstitutional restriction of political speech. But limiting contribution amounts is constitutional because donation is conduct and not speech.
The concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Is the regulation an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of speech?
Held. No. By limiting contributions the government is preserving its interest in the integrity of the system of democracy. This interest is sufficient to justify the effect on the First Amendment right of contributors. On the other hand, the regulation limiting political expenditures places substantial restriction on a person’s right to engage in political speech.
Discussion. Spending of money is speech because it is used to disseminate political thoughts. On the other hand, a donation is conduct. It is a measure of support and does not result in direct political communication. But it has a high probability of showing impropriety on behalf of the candidates.