National Review: Udall’s Futile Fight against Free Speech (In the News)

By Luke Wachob
Udall-amendment supporters might actually be banking on the fact that the amendment won’t pass. Its vague language allows them to say whatever they want about it while casting its opponents as having been “bought” by “big money,” a highly useful political tactic during a heated election season. But would senators really fabricate a crisis of “dark money” and propose to amend the First Amendment merely to attract a few headlines and scare a few campaign donations out of their constituents? Even in politics, it’s hard to believe people could act so cynically.
Well, believe it. In Politico, Byron Tau explained that the amendment is, “in part, meant to support Democratic talking points on the Koch brothers and big money spending.” Kapur says it is “part of Democrats’ election-year strategy in 2014.”
The amendment was never designed to succeed. Its sponsors simply want to cash in on the ever-popular rhetoric of being for “the people” and against the “special interests,” whatever that means. But this goes far beyond politics as usual. To risk tampering with the First Amendment and weakening protections for free speech just to score political points in the run-up to an election is a frightening strategy and one that could lead to other measures that could impose real damage to First Amendment speech freedoms.

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