Free-speech defender explains his fight against campaign finance restrictions

It’s likely that you’ve never heard of James Bopp Jr., but you’ve likely heard of the results of his legal work.

A Bloomberg Businessweek profile documents his “three-decade-long crusade to eliminate restrictions on political contributions.”

Over the years, Bopp has filed numerous lawsuits in state and federal courts seeking to knock down fundraising limits, always on the lookout for test cases that could one day end up before the justices. He filed 21 of the 31 lawsuits challenging campaign finance regulations tracked by the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center. His work cleared the way for the creation of so-called Super PACs, independent campaign fundraising groups that amass unlimited donations. These PACs are now at work raising tens of millions of dollars from labor, business, and individuals to support—or attack—Presidential candidates. Bopp’s advocacy led to the end of state restrictions on spending in judicial elections and to the repeal of state laws providing additional public funds to candidates whose opponents spend more.

Think this a bad thing? Perhaps Daren Bakst can set you straight.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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