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Opening Arguments

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Whoops. Guess we have a little work to do:

Indiana didn’t just get an F in a state-by-state comparison of laws requiring outside groups to report their campaign spending.

The state got a zero.

A 50-state analysis by the National Institute on Money in State Politics found that Indiana and five other states — Alabama, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and South Carolina — don’t have a single law on the books to require super PACs and nonprofits to disclose their finances.

Unlike candidates’ committees and normal political action committees, which must regularly file reports showing who gave them money and how they spent it, so-called independent expenditure groups can fly under the radar.

We've long arguend on the editorial page that most campaign finance "reform" efforts are misguided. For one thing, every effort to regulate the flow of money just creates more loopholes. More important, though, contributing to a campaign is political speech, which should be among the most protected speech under the First Amendment.

The best thing to do is make absolute disclosure of all campaign finances a strong part of the law, with stiff penaltes for noncompliance that are enforced all ogf the time against all violators. Let the voters know who is beholden to whom for what, and we can then vote accordingly.

But that works only if there are actual laws on the books requiring the financial disclosures. I do suppose the lack of a law is better, though, than what we could end up with in Indiana -- disclosure laws that are either routinely ignored or selectively enforced.