Daily Media Links 7/6: Democrats Keep Trying To Suppress Free Speech, Obama’s Lawyer Doesn’t Believe the 1st Amendment Applies to Fox News!, and more…

In the News

Legal News Line: Two separate yet similar lawsuits against Calif. AG Harris: One wins, one loses

Kerrie Hatcher

“In both the CCP and AFP cases, the AG argued that reviewing donor information is important to its task of rooting out fraud and abuse, that reviewing the information will help the office flag irregularities. The problem is, no one from the Attorney General’s office has been able to substantiate this claim that donor information is important to enforcement,” Kardell said.

“In fact, investigators and state attorneys who took the stand in the AFP case admitted that they didn’t use donor information in their investigations.”

The outcomes of the lawsuits indicate that there was either a particular difference presented in the organization’s cases or that the rights of the two companies were protected differently.

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CCP Welcomes Research Fellow Joe Albanese to External Relations Staff

Joe is a strong advocate for less government intervention in the political process and for upholding Constitutional provisions that advance individual liberty.

As Joe explains, “public debate regarding campaign finance and political expression tends to be dominated by voices in government and media that prefer more regulation. While there have been great strides in free speech jurisprudence in recent years, this has only emboldened pro-regulation voices to more openly attack the First Amendment. I am excited to engage in this debate at CCP and help promote a more open and competitive political system.”

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Free Speech

Federalist: Democrats Keep Trying To Suppress Free Speech

John Daniel Davidson

Liberals fear big money drowns out competition, hence their asinine rallying cry to “get money out of politics.” But exercising free speech in a way that will influence others almost always requires the corporate action of individuals and spending at least some money. That’s true whether you’re shooting a documentary or publishing a magazine—or, in the case of Fox News, hosting a presidential primary debate.

Liberals also accuse conservatives of twisting the meaning of free speech by maintaining that corporations do, by definition, have free speech rights because corporations are, after all, made of individuals acting together with common purpose. In fact, liberals are the ones guilty of twisting language. They would flag any “speech” they don’t like, call it a “campaign contribution,” and deploy the FEC to shut it down.

Justice Antonin Scalia, addressing concerns about the rise of Super PACs in the wake of Citizens United, summed up the entire issue as only he could: “I don’t care who is doing the speech—the more the merrier. People are not stupid. If they don’t like it, they’ll shut it off.”

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Investor’s Business Daily: The Left Vs. Free Speech

Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel has written a book called “The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech.” The New York Times is not under obligation to review it, nor is any conservative surprised that it won’t. But it has no right to misrepresent its circulation. This is precisely what the Times is doing: playing games with sales figures to suppress Strassel’s book from its best-seller list.

In its first week in print Strassel’s book ranked sixth on the Nielsen BookScan list of best-sellers. Somehow the Times couldn’t find a space anywhere in its top 15, despite including on its list books that sold less than Strassel’s did on the Nielsen list.

Best-sellers beget more sales, and the New York Times is trying to thwart that possibility. Conservative authors, from Ted Cruz to David Limbaugh, have seen these games before. But this book is about suppressing free speech, so the shamelessness is even deeper.

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RNLA: Obama’s Lawyer Doesn’t Believe the 1st Amendment Applies to Fox News!

Michael B. Thielen

President Obama’s lawyer Bob Bauer, on his blog, defends Commissioner Weintraub, criticizes Commissioner Goodman, and brushes off as inconsequential Fox News’ profound free press rights.  He acknowledges that Commissioner Weintraub voted to find Fox News violated the law for engaging in legitimate, wholly constructive press activity.  But he defends Commissioner Weintraub on the theory that outlawing — even technically — press activity is more important in this case than disrupting the prestige and decorum at the FEC. What a profoundly disturbing suggestion by one generally regarded as a civil libertarian who represents the First Amendment rights of oppressed political actors before the government.

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Politico: The lobbying reform that enriched Congress

Isaac Arnsdorf

Their attempt to make good on that promise, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, was embraced by both parties as a historic breakthrough. “This legislation will slow the revolving door that shuffles lawmakers and top staff between federal jobs and the private sector,” Harry Reid, newly the Senate majority leader, said of the lobbying reform law. Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, added, “This bill, then, is a critical part of restoring the people’s trust by reforming ethics and lobbying rules.”

Instead, it made things worse.

Nine years later, the result of the law is very nearly the opposite of what the American public was told it was getting at the time.

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Daily Caller: IRS Allegedly ‘Determined’ To Hide Records Revealing White House Collusion

Ethan Barton

IRS employees claimed they couldn’t find any documents responsive to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that would reveal the unauthorized disclosures, but Cause of Action (CoA) Institute’s Friday court filing argues the agency didn’t search email correspondence and only looked through formal disclosure requests.

“In short, the IRS appears determined not to perform an adequate search for records that may demonstrate serious wrongdoing by federal officials — the same officials who are tasked with the duty to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information,” the filing said.

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Fortune: This Is What the Republicans and Democrats Are Spending on this Summer’s Conventions

Ben Geier

Political conventions are a lot of things—a party, an infomercial, the culmination of a months-long slog towards figuring out who might lead our country into the unknown future. Conventions are also a serious expense, with both the parties and the cities that host them spending some serious cash to get the events off the ground.

From the balloons that fall atop the victorious candidate to the police that patrol both inside and outside of the convention halls, here’s a look at just how much cold hard cash goes into creating our quadrennial celebrations of American factionalism.

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CBS News: The Trump-iest show on Earth: What to expect at the Republican National Convention

Jacqueline Alemany

Every state GOP delegation, from Hawaii to Maine, will be hosting events for its delegates and elected officials attending the convention, either casual happy hours or late-night hotel parties. On the opening day of the convention, the Wisconsin GOP is hosting a “Late Night Beers and Brats” party slated to go until 2 A.M., while the Kentucky Republican Party is planning to kick off the week with a “Red, White and Bourbon Welcome Reception.”…

And then there are the musical acts on the agenda. Those slated to perform include Kid Rock, Better Than Ezra, Robert Randolph, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride and Lynyrd Skynrd.

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Rolling Stone: Snoop Dogg to Headline ‘Unity’ Concert After Democratic Convention

Jon Blistein

The concert will take place at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on July 28th, and is being hosted in conjunction with the House Majority PAC and the Senate Majority PAC. The three organizations will also host a reception several days earlier that will feature a performance from Los Lobos, though an exact date and venue have yet to be announced.

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Slate: Putin’s Puppet

Franklin Foer

That’s a highly abridged sampling of Trump’s odes to Putin. Why wouldn’t the Russians offer him the same furtive assistance they’ve lavished on Le Pen, Berlusconi, and the rest? Indeed, according to Politico’s Michael Crowley, Russian propaganda has gone full throttle for Trump, using its Russia Today apparatus to thrash Hillary Clinton and hail the courage of Trump’s foreign policy. (Sample headline: “Trump Sparks NATO Debate: ‘Obsolete’ or ‘Tripwire That Could Lead to World War III.’ ”) Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers, purloining its opposition research files on Trump and just about everything else it could find. They also wormed their way into the computers of the Clinton Foundation, a breach reported by Bloomberg. And though it may be a mere coincidence, Trump’s inner circle is populated with advisers and operatives who have long careers advancing the interests of the Kremlin.

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Candidates and Campaigns

CNBC: Questionable tax-free payments to Trump staffers raise ‘red flags’

Lori Ann LaRocco

These “red flags,” as one expert deemed them, include a total lack of disclosure on which vendors staffers for the presumptive Republican nominee are paying, an “unusual” six-figure payout to campaign staff for nontaxable expenses and what appeared to be double reimbursements for some employees’ expenses.

When asked about the apparently unusual filing practices, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email that “the report speaks for itself.”

But experts said that message was not entirely clear, and at the very least broke with long-established protocols — something that would be entirely keeping in character for one of the most surprising campaigns in the modern era.

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ABC News: Who Pays When the President Travels for Campaign Events?

Jordyn Phelps

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to express outrage over the cost to taxpayers for President Obama’s campaign trip to Charlotte, North Carolina with Hillary Clinton.

But what is the actual cost to taxpayers?

In the case of political travel by the president, there are rules that the federal government be reimbursed by the appropriate political organization for the costs of the travel…

In the most recently available figures, the cost of operating Air Force One averaged approximately $200,000 an hour, according to the Air Force. This figure includes fuel, food, repairs, and basic maintenance.

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The States

New York Post: Campaign Finance Board to examine de Blasio’s nonprofit

Michael Gartland

The city’s Campaign Finance Board is expected Wednesday to take up the question of whether nonprofits aligned with Mayor de Blasio have circumvented campaign fund-raising and spending rules.

The Campaign for One New York, which is under investigation by the feds and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., has raised more than $4 million since 2014. It is now inactive.

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Arizona Republic: Time to show our leaders who’s in charge, Arizona

Laurie Roberts

Now that the July 4 fireworks have faded, we are back to business but patriotism never goes out of style. It seems to me the most patriotic thing you can do this week doesn’t involve waving Old Glory or setting off incendiary devices that could take off a finger.

If you really want to celebrate democracy, celebrate your constitutional right to, in essence,veto Senate Bill 1516.

It’s a new law that would, among other vile things, open the floodgates to even more dark money spending in Arizona and provide new hidey holes for anonymous donors, so you can’t see to whom our leaders are beholden.

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