The latest issue of the Wyoming Law Review, the legal publication of the University of Wyoming College of Law, features our article “Publius Was Not a PAC: Reconciling Anonymous Political Speech, the First Amendment, and Campaign Finance Disclosure.” The article is now available on the Law Review’s website.
As contentious debates and litigation continue to surround state and federal campaign finance disclosure laws, our article discusses positive impacts made by anonymous political speech throughout American history and argues that judges and policymakers should consider anonymity rigorously and rightfully protected by the First Amendment.
The article also illustrates how disclosure laws go far beyond prohibiting anonymous political speech and embroil grassroots and established organizations in a risky regulatory morass. As these laws expand to subject even more types of political speech to disclosure, soon enough even distributing works in the tradition of The Federalist Papers—published pseudonymously by three of our Founding Fathers (including Alexander Hamilton and James Madison) under the name Publius—will be illegal, or at least subject to regular filings of complex financial reports with campaign regulators.
Political speech and association are among the most important freedoms in our nation, and Publius embodied both. Today, we stand at the verge of losing these freedoms—liberties integral to the functioning of a democracy—due to the overreach of zealous campaign finance reform laws. Enjoy “Publius Was Not a PAC” and learn about our recommendations to restore protection of these rights!