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Where Is The Line Between Free Speech And ‘Dark Money’?

dark money

Andrew Langer joins Emily Jashinsky to discuss the tension between the First Amendment and what is often labeled ‘dark money.’


On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Andrew Langer, president of the Institute for Liberty, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss the tension between the First Amendment right to free speech and what is often labeled “dark money.”

“If you’re advocating for ideas and for changes in the public discourse, that’s something that should be very much protected speech, and the public’s interest in knowing who was giving money to those things should not outweigh someone’s right to engage in speech anonymously or engaging their freedom of association anonymously,” Langer said. “Because as others have pointed out … this is an essential element of that free speech. Sometimes people cannot speak out in their own names without having retribution taken against them.”

Langer said dark money is often weaponized and used as a “pejorative term,” but the regulation of people who advocate for ideas needs to be more nuanced.

“The standards as they’ve been for the last 30 years in terms of reporting, let’s say even 20 years, shouldn’t change. The bright line should be about electioneering and not about ideas because ideas should stand and fall on their own merits,” Langer said.