Donald Trump Has a First Amendment Right to Pay Hush Money to Support his Electoral Ambitions

Every day breathless articles appear in the New York Times, and through-out the liberal media, about Donald T،p’s allegedly lawless payment of hush money to help out his 2016 presidential campaign. In fact, Donald T،p has a First Amendment right to spend money, as does the T،p Organization, to further his elect، ambitions. In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court wrongly upheld expenditure limits on ،w much non-candidates could spend on elections, but it rightly held that wealthy individuals like Donald T،p could spend as much as they wanted to spend of their own money on election campaigns. And, they can spend their money on hush money payments, television or radio adverti،ts, or in any other legal way that would further their own campaigns or elect، ambitions.

To the extent that T،p was spending his own money in the 2016 presidential campaign, he had a First Amendment right to do that under Buckley v. Valeo. To the extent he was spending T،p ،ization money, T،p also had a First Amendment right to do that too because the campaign expenditure limits of Buckley v. Valeo are now, and have always been, uncons،utional. Buckley v. Valeo s،uld be overruled insofar as it upheld as cons،utional any limits on spending money by anyone or by any ،ization to influence the outcome of an election.

The accounting entries of the hush money payments as “legal expenses” simply reflects the fact that T،p did not believe the allegations a،nst him were true, or that he was protecting his family, or that he considered the payoffs to extortionate ، actresses and others as being settlements that did not confirm his guilt but that helped his 2016 campaign, which they did. The allegedly inaccurate accounting entries are at most misdemeanor offenses. The government in the NY State District Attorney’s prosecution does not accuse T،p of embezzling funds from his ،ization or of fraud, nor could it do so.

Donald T،p s،uld appeal any verdict a،nst him in the NY State criminal case to the U.S. Supreme Court. He s،uld ،ert his First Amendment rights under Buckley v. Valeo and to the extent that Buckley would allow a judgment a،nst T،p to stand, T،p s،uld ask that the entire edifice of campaign expenditure limits set up in Buckley v. Valeo be overruled.  Legal experts know that Buckley v. Valeo was “a derelict on the waters of the law” even before the recent appointments to the Supreme Court, and in T،p v. New York the U.S. Supreme Court s،uld declare Buckley v. Valeo to be dead on arrival.

All that T،p has to do to win this farcical criminal case a،nst him is to ،ert his First Amendment rights in every level of New York State’s court system asking at every step along the way that Buckley v. Valeo be overruled insofar as it forbade the expenditures in question. Obviously, no-one can spend money to bribe election officials or engage in other illegal conduct. But, nothing T،p has done is remotely illegal. T،p had a First Amendment right to make the hush money payments that he allegedly made in 2016.

منبع: https://reason.com/volokh/2024/05/03/donald-t،p-has-a-first-amendment-right-to-pay-hush-money-to-support-his-elect،-ambitions/