In the News: Forbes: In Today’s America, Consult Your Attorney Before Speaking Freely

Daniel Shuchman wrote an excellent article in Forbes, “In Today’s America, Consult Your Attorney Before Speaking Freely,” pointing out the absurdity of advocacy laws:
In modern America, however, it appears the man in Rockwell’s painting might be advised to be very careful what he says, how he says it, and to whom he says it at the town hall.  A few wrong moves and one of the townspeople wearing ties might report him to the local election commission.  He might be required to register as a Political Action Committee and make filings with the state. He could face significant administrative expenses, and need to hire a financial staff.  Indeed, it would probably be best if he brought an attorney with him to the meeting, lest he run afoul of the rules regarding political speech and advocacy.
While this may sound hyperbolic if not downright absurd in America, it is the inescapable conclusion one reaches in reading the petition papers filed recently with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Edmund Corsi & Geauga Constitutional Council v. Ohio Elections Commission.
According to lower court rulings in Ohio and the findings of the Ohio Elections Commission, it seems that Mr. Corsi, a resident of Geauga County near Cleveland, believes “that most elected officials ignore the constitution and, as a result, he is concerned that he will lose his freedoms in this country.”  Mr. Corsi wrote and distributed pamphlets and formed a website under the name of the Geauga Constitutional Council (GCC) to express his views.  He never formally incorporated the GCC, and it seems to have largely acted as a pseudonym.  He paid $40 a month to maintain his website and held informational events at which he provided food and for which he sometimes charged a small entrance fee.  Mr. Corsi estimated that he spent a “couple hundred dollars” publishing his pamphlets.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.