Targeting free speech

by Jonathan Reisman

Ending freedom of speech is on the agenda for the Harris-Biden crime family, the Democratic Party and the left.  Joined by Big Tech, the legacy media and the League of Women Voters, our progressive betters will continue their hypocrisy of wailing about evil corporate political spending and dark money even while extensively utilizing them in Maine, Georgia and across the nation. If they are successful in gaining control of the Senate, freedom of speech will be severely curtailed.

In 2001, Senators Collins and Snowe supported the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms to combat the “perception” of corruption that had emerged from the swamp. The late sainted Senator McCain had been caught accepting contributions from banking and finance lobbyists even as he aggressively pushed and legislated sweetheart deals for them. One feature of McCain-Feingold was the creation of a 90-day pre-election window when the government would prohibit films, books and other “electioneering communications” from being disseminated. The Supreme Court had suggested (but not definitely ruled) that the 1st Amendment’s prohibition of government regulation/censorship of speech might be modified to combat the perception of corruption. The Court had ruled in 1976 that money was speech, and for over a century long-standing precedent had held that corporations were to be treated as people with certain rights, including freedom of speech and association.

A group of Republican partisans formed a corporation known as Citizens United and produced a film about Hillary Clinton in anticipation of her Presidential candidacy in 2008. The film’s distribution was staid by the Federal Election Committee under McCain-Feingold. (Funny how it was never applied to leftist films from Michael Moore, but that is another story). The partisans challenged the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission and won (this was before Chief Justice John Roberts discovered that were no partisan judges.) The Citizens United decision rejected government censorship of political speech, reaffirmed that corporations (and unions) had free speech rights, and created what we now know as Super PACs for unlimited, unfettered, and uncoordinated (between candidates and “independent” groups) political speech. Coupled with the alphabet soup of 501 non-profits set up by the IRS and the longstanding precedent that freedom of speech extends to anonymous speech (dating to the 18th Century anonymous publications of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense authored by “an Englishman” and the Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison et al), Citizen’s United also set up or at least enabled the fetid avalanche of dark money that simultaneously aids and enrages the left.

President Obama and the left were so appalled at being unable to regulate political speech that a jihad against the Court and Citizens United was declared. President Obama attacked the Court and the decision in his first State of the Union address in 2010. In 2012, The New Yorker published an “expose” by the now “overexposed” Jeffrey Toobin attacking Chief Justice Roberts for engineering Citizens United, unlimited (evil) corporate money and corruption. In 2015 the Political Action Committee End Citizens United was formed by three Democratic Congressional Committee fundraising strategists. Its stated goal is to reverse Citizens United and “end big money in politics”, a goal shared by the League of Women Voters. The PAC has raised and spent almost $100 million dollars supporting Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton, Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Jon Ossoff, Maggie Hassan, Mark Kelly and Sarah Gideon. I guess part of its goal will be to end itself.

In 2019, 47 Democratic Senators co-sponsored legislation to amend the 1st Amendment to allow the government to regulate political speech and reverse Citizens United. Such efforts will continue, especially if the voter fraud efforts in Georgia are successful in swinging the Senate to Democratic control. Even though a constitutional amendment seems unlikely, the left has shown through the National Popular Vote initiative that they will try to find a workaround, probably including doing whatever they can to cower and or pack the Supreme Court into submission.

Last summer, iconic Maine humorist Tim Sample joined the End Citizens United parade, cutting several internet ads for them.  Political pundit Al Diamon, lamenting the aroma of $200 million dollars in political speech in the recent U.S. Senate race, also called for some “reasonable” government regulation of political speech. Both seem oblivious to the likelihood that “reasonable” regulation will not end with Republicans and conservatives being silenced, but with their own muzzling. Free speech is endangered by the authoritarians in the Democratic Party, Big Tech, most of academia, the Legacy Media, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the League of Women Voters and many more. I am sure they have a face mask/gag all ready for me.

Jon Reisman is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias. His views are his own.Mr. Reisman welcomes comments as letters to the editor here, or to him directly via email at jreisman@maine.edu.

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