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Democrats’ New Campaign ‘Reforms’ Are A War On Free Speech

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Published on: March 14, 2019

This is no surprise. The left has always been against the freedom of speech. Leftists cannot defeat their foes in discussion and debate, and so they move to shut them down by force. Look at what the social media giants are doing. Every one of them is owned and operated by Leftists who are working systematically to silence my colleagues and me and everyone else who dares to oppose the Leftist agenda and support President Trump. HR 1 is an attempt to circumvent and destroy the First Amendment, and codify speech restrictions. This has been a long time coming, but if it becomes law, America is finished as a free society.

“Democrats’ new campaign ‘reforms’ are a war on free speech,” by Rich Lowry, New York Post, March 11, 2019:

The same Democrats who can’t abide President Trump’s alleged offenses against the First Amendment passed, as their first priority, a speech-restricting bill opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Trump shouldn’t call the media the ­“enemy of the people” or inveigh against Jeff Bezos for owning The Washington Post, but Nancy Pelosi’s HR 1, enacted in the House last week, is the true affront to the Constitution.

The wide-ranging legislation purports to reform campaign finance with a series of vague, sweeping measures that will act to chill speech when they don’t actively regulate or squelch it. HR 1 is called the For the People Act but would be more aptly titled The Be Careful What You Say, It Might Be Illegal Act.

Progressives can’t abide the notion that people in this country get together to spend money on advocacy outside the purview of the government — in other words, freely promote their favored causes as ­befits a free people living in a free country.

HR 1 cracks the whip. As the Institute for Free Speech points out, the current campaign-finance rules limit expenditures that expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate or refer to a candidate in public advertising shortly before an election. The idea is to have clear rules, so groups can promote their views without fear of running afoul of federal regulations.

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HR 1 blows up this regime. It seeks to regulate any speech at any time that “promotes or supports the candidate, or ­attacks or opposes an opponent of the candidate,” a fuzzy standard that could catch up all manner of non-electoral messages — for example, “Trump’s tariffs are a mistake,” or “Support Trump’s Wall.”

HR 1 also widens the definition of coordination between a group and a candidate to encompass almost any communication. It’d still be permissible to discuss a candidate’s position on an issue, so long as there is no talk “regarding the candidate’s or committee’s campaign advertising, message, strategy, policy, polling, allocation of resources, fundraising or other campaign activities.”

Even if a group doesn’t coordinate with a candidate under this loose standard, it could still be deemed to have coordinated if it were founded by someone who goes on to become a candidate; relies on the professional services of someone who also did work for a candidate; or is run by someone who had conversations about a campaign with the relative of a candidate.

On top of all this, HR 1 goes after the privacy of ­donors to advocacy organizations. It mandates the disclosure of the names and addresses of ­donors giving more than $10,000 to groups that engage in “campaign-related disbursements.” Given our toxic political environment, this would potentially subject the donors to harassment and abuse, and they might not even be aware of or support the communications in question….

Article posted with permission from Pamela Geller

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