Former Justice John Paul Stevens: Campaign cash isn’t speech

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WASHINGTON — Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says campaign donations fund more than political ads and do not deserve absolute protection as free speech.

Stevens on Wednesday told a Senate hearing on campaign finance laws that political donations funded the burglary at the Watergate office complex under President Richard Nixon. He says campaign cash made the break-in at the Democratic National Committee possible.

Stevens has been a critic of his former colleagues’ decisions that have opened the floodgates for unlimited donations and super PACs. The retired justice says political money is not the same as free speech and should be regulated to guard against corruption.

Stevens adds that politicians should welcome limits on campaign cash so that they can spend more time serving constituents instead of raising funds.

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