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The Court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. See Davis, at 741, 128 S. Ct. 2759, 171 L. Ed. 2d 737; National Conservative Political Action Comm., 470 U.S., at 496-497, 105 S. Ct. 1459, 84 L. Ed. 2d 455. Courts have consistently rejected attempts to suppress campaign speech based on other legislative objectives. No matter how desirable it may seem, it is not an acceptable governmental objective to “level the playing field,” or to “level electoral opportunities,” or to “equalize the financial resources of candidates.” Bennett, 564 U.S., at ___, 131 S. Ct. 2806, 2827, 180 L. Ed. 2d 664, 686; Davis, supra, at 741-742, 128 S. Ct. 2759, 171 L. Ed. 2d 737; Buckley, supra, at 56, 96 S. Ct. 612, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659. The First Amendment prohibits such legislative attempts to “fine-tune” the electoral process, no matter how well intentioned. Bennett, supra, at ___, 131 S. Ct. 2806, 2825, 180 L. Ed. 2d 664, 684.


As the Court framed the relevant principle in Buckley, “the concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society ...

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