By Ron Fein
Special to The Washington Post
Barry Goldwater's favorite response to an idea that earned his disdain was "Hell, no." And that's exactly how the late senator from Arizona would likely have responded to Washington Post columnist George F. Will after he attacked a common-sense constitutional amendment that would authorize limits on the influence of money in politics.
Last month, Will quoted Goldwater in the opening lines of a column arguing that the Citizens United decision protects Americans' First Amendment rights. According to Will, Citizens United says that "Americans do not forfeit their speech rights when they band together to express themselves on political issues through corporations, which they generally do through nonprofit advocacy corporations," like the Sierra Club or NARAL Pro-Choice. However, the Supreme Court had already held in its 1986 Massachusetts Citizens for Life decision that true nonprofit advocacy corporations, as defined by certain reasonable parameters, can spend money in elections — and it distinguished them from business corporations for that reason.