Democrats try to limit free speech
Winningreen Issue Alert A062310
Democrats again try to limit free speech again during campaigns
By Gretchen Randall
Issue: In trying to find a way around the January Supreme Court ruling that said freedom of speech during campaigns also applies to corporations and other groups, Democrats have put together a campaign finance bill that would limit freedom of speech by groups such as the Tea Parties. A vote is planned for Thursday in the House on the Disclose Act (HR5175). Contrary to its full title, “Democracy is Strengthened by Shining the Light on Spending in Elections”, the bill’s purpose is to make it difficult or impossible for groups other than unions to make their voices heard during election campaigns.
For instance, the Disclose Act would require the CEO of a corporation to appear in any campaign ad it runs. In addition, it would require a list of donors giving more than $1000 be displayed in a group’s ad, taking time away from the message. However, an exemption was made for those groups who have been in existence for 10 years, have 1 million members and receive less than 15% of their contributions from corporations – mainly unions. Ironically, this exemption was written to also apply to the National Rifle Association (NRA), to keep the group and its supporters from opposing the legislation.
Reaction to the special consideration for the NRA led to lowering the membership requirement to 500,000 to include other groups but it still limits free speech to only the groups meeting the bill’s requirements. All others such as Tea Parties and the National Right to Life Committee would lose their free speech rights during an election campaign. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703650604575313162845204530.html?KEYWORDS=disclose+act
Comment: Democrats are for free speech only when it’s speech that agrees with them — the same as Hitler, Goebbels, Mussolini, Hirohito, Lenin and Stalin as well as today’s Chavez, Castro and the thugs who run Red China.
Comment: “This is not just "disclosure." It is a scheme hatched by political insiders to eradicate disfavored speech. There is no room under the First Amendment for Congress to make deals on political speech, whether with the NRA or anyone else.” wrote campaign finance expert Cleta Mitchell of Foley & Lardner in her article accessed below.
Background and links: Cleta Mitchell, who sits on the board of the NRA, criticized the group’s failure to stand up for freedom of speech for all groups. Read it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/16/AR2010061604221.html
Contact: Gretchen Randall