February 24, 2006
Montpelier, VT: The Vermont Libertarian Party has taken the fight to protect political free speech to the U.S. Supreme Court, as one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, Randall v. Sorrell. The Court is hearing oral arguments in the case on Tuesday, February 28. The Vermont Libertarian Party is challenging a 1997 state campaign finance law that seeks to severely restrict spending by candidates and political parties, and limit private campaign contributions.
Vermont Libertarian Party Chair Hardy Machia explained that the Party is one of the original plaintiffs in the Randall v. Sorrell case. The party claims that the 1997 campaign finance law, Act 64, violates their First Amendment rights of free speech and free association by severely restricting what the state party can contribute to candidates.
Supporters of the 1997 campaign finance law say it is necessary “to combat corruption, the appearance of corruption, and to free up candidates’ time”. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell admitted that the law has put some restrictions on candidates’ ability to express their views, but noted, “There are other competing constitutional interests, such as the integrity of the electoral process”. Should identify where and when he stated this…
In rebuttal to Sorrell’s claims, Machia says, “The Libertarian Party is raising funds for our state house candidates this year so they can focus on knocking on doors and meeting voters. The campaign finance restrictions prior to Act 64 already put minor parties at an extreme disadvantage to the Democrats and Republicans. The additional restrictions of free speech in Act 64 almost guarantee that third parties won’t be able to be heard.”