How can anyone say — as people do say, as if this settles the issue — that “Money isn’t speech” and then, in the same breath, ask for money to spread the word about the danger to democracy posed by the Koch brothers, who are pouring millions of dollars into political campaigns supporting their conservative-libertarian point of view? Money spent trying to spread a political message is speech, whether you like the message or not. More money is louder speech, that more people can hear.
Does this mean we are powerless to prevent money from dominating politics?
Not necessarily. Seen as a bribe, a campaign contribution isn’t very efficient. A politician can’t pocket it. Some do, of course, but campaign reform isn’t intended or required to snare an outright crook. The rules are made for the rule-abiding, and a rule-abiding politician can use money from campaign contributions only in efforts to persuade the voters. In other words, not only is campaign spending speech — it is only speech. That’s all the money is good for. And the voters have it within their power to ignore this speech and make all that contribution money worthless.