Elizabeth Warren Proposes a Big New Tax on Lobbyists. But Is It Legal?


As part of a broad-ranging set of plans meant to address government corruption, Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a new tax on lobbying on Wednesday, meant to discourage major corporations from spending more than $500,000 to lobby the government. But law experts say any plan to tax lobbying would almost certainly face legal challenges under the First Amendment. Other law experts say a lobbying tax is particularly unlikely to survive the current conservative makeup of the Supreme Court. “Given this Court’s view that money is a form of speech, it would likely view such a tax as an infringement of that right,” says Delaney Marsco, legal counsel for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center. “For the First Amendment purposes, it doesn’t matter whether or not you call it a tax. In terms of how First Amendment cases are analyzed, it has to do whether or not speech is burdened.”

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