Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians for various violations of U.S. law pertaining to elections is drawing a lot of quick and often uninformed comment about campaign finance and lobbying laws. Today let’s start with this piece, which seems to be making the rounds: Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for […]
Foreign nationals have no right to impersonate Americans to interfere in elections Alexandria, VA – The Institute for Free Speech released the following statement today on the indictments of 13 Russian nationals on charges of interfering in the 2016 presidential election: “As an organization dedicated to defending and advancing Americans’ First Amendment political speech rights, […]
Concord Monitor: “Fix It America” constitutional amendment is latest attempt to undo First Amendment (In the News)
By Joe Albanese
Will the Twenty-Eighth Amendment be a repeal of the First? One proposed amendment might amount to that. It calls for sweeping regulations on the ability to practice free speech in politics, and even says its provisions can’t “be deemed in violation of freedom of speech rights.”
That should set off alarm bells in your head. It raises the question of why such a caveat is necessary in the first place. That exact phrase comes from the so-called “Fix It America” amendment (H.B. 1524), which was recently discussed in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and written about in the Monitor by John Pudner of Take Back Our Republic.
The “regulations” referred to in that amendment come from a prior clause: “Congress and State Legislatures shall regulate the role of money in elections and governance…” This clause requires regulation of the spending of money on campaigns and policy advocacy (since it says the government “shall” regulate, not that it “may” regulate), which necessitates the restricting of your free speech. The reason is simple: in the modern era, you need to spend some money to spread your message to a large number of people – whether it’s placing ads or simply printing out fliers. Or for that matter, publishing a newspaper like this one.
By Katie Lannan, State House News Service
Proposed campaign finance regulations governing non-profits’ disclosure of donors came under fire Tuesday from groups that called them overly broad and warned they could discourage contributions…
Allen Dickerson, the Institute for Free Speech’s legal director, said the proposed regulations do not help the public identify the “true speaker” behind a political message.
“If an individual gives money to a candidate’s committee, they do so for the purposes of supporting that candidate,” Dickerson said. “That association is clear and reporting them as a supporter is accurate…but telling the public that someone supports a particular political message even when they do not give to actually fund that message, doesn’t do this. Instead, such reports mislead the public by arbitrarily connecting individuals to granular political messages even when they give only to general causes.” …
Tad Heuer, a lawyer representing [Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance], said some of the changes were “impermissibly vague” and would prevent donors and organizations from knowing before a contribution was made whether disclosure would be required.
OCPF [Office of Campaign and Political Finance] plans to take feedback on the draft regulations into consideration before issuing a final version this spring.
New Boston Post: Nonprofit Fiscal Watchdog Fears Massachusetts Will Act To Make Donor ID’s Public (In the News)
By Evan Lips
A series of proposed changes to state campaign finance regulations has organizations like the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance concerned that the public disclosure of those donating to nonprofits could happen seemingly overnight, with state statutes changing despite the Legislature not lifting so much as a finger.
Paul Craney, who heads the conservative-leaning Beacon Hill spending watchdog, spoke out against the proposals during a hearing held at the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance on Tuesday morning…
The latest proposal agency officials are floating would give the agency the power to rule unilaterally that a donor “had reason to know” how a donation would be spent, which under the rules would give the agency the authority to disclose that donor’s identity. A secondary measure would strip donors of the opportunity to challenge a decision by the agency to disclose a donor’s identity…
Craney said he thinks the proposal would set a dangerous precedent and noted that MassFiscal wasn’t the only outfit that spoke out against the proposal at Tuesday morning’s hearing – representatives from the Virginia-based Institute for Free Speech also voiced concerns.
No individuals spoke in favor of the proposals…
“The proposal is basically saying OCPF can mind-read,” Craney said.
Filed Under: In the News
You’ve probably heard the term tossed around over the past couple of years, but what exactly is a “super PAC”? These organizations have been given a bad name by their competitors – powerful politicians and media corporations – who previously held a monopoly on political speech. However, the reality is much different than what opponents of free speech would have you believe. Check out the Institute’s newest infographic to understand what super PACs are really about.
Filed Under: Featured Content
You’ve probably heard the term tossed around over the past couple of years, but what exactly is a “super PAC”? These organizations have been given a bad name by their competitors – powerful politicians and media corporations – who previously held a monopoly on political speech. However, the reality is much different than what opponents […]