Kent Conrad is griping about last-minute Super PAC spending in North Dakota’s Senate race, and he’s making me envision him as a Scooby Doo villain with mask freshly pulled griping about how Democrats would have won the election if it “wasn’t for that darn free speech.”
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) – A rush of last-minute campaign spending by Super PACs has some people crying foul.
New ads are out, attacking U.S. Senate Candidate Heidi Heitkamp.
And U.S. Senator Kent Conrad says it’s not fair.
Conrad says the cash funding these commercials is coming from anonymous and secret sources.
He says groups don’t have to mention who the donors are until the next disclosure deadline, in December.
By that time, he says the damage will already be done.
Sen. Kent Conrad, (D) North Dakota: “These anonymous donors should be required to step up and identify themselves so North Dakotans can know who they represent.”
It’s worth mentioning that nearly $7 million in Super PAC spending has been expended supporting Heidi Heitkamp in the Senate race, according to OpenSecrets.org, including nearly $1 million in the last week (more than twice the $413,641 that has been spent supporting Berg).
Yet, Conrad doesn’t seem to be griping about that money.
As for whether or not this should be allowed to happen, of course private groups should be able to engage in free speech opposing or supporting candidates without being hassled about disclosure. That’s democracy. Political contributions are a form of speech, a concept that’s been upheld more than one by the Supreme Court, and private citizens can spend their money as they wish.
It’s fashionable to hate these ads – and yes, they do get annoying – but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re speech. We should be happy that all this speech is happening, not trying to silence it with government regulation and red tape which is what Conrad is advocating.