Reason: From Washington to Wisconsin, States Are Punishing Dissent (In the News)

By Alex Cordell
Just over a year ago, after the Trump administration gave the green light to move forward with construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, an activist group called Red Line Salish Sea staged a peaceful protest in Bellingham, Washington…
The county prosecutor’s office responded with a disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment investigation of the demonstrators. To uncover their identities, officials repeatedly attempted to obtain a warrant for private information from the group’s Facebook page…
The first two warrant applications were withdrawn after the American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook fought back, noting that they would chill political speech and association. So county prosecutor David McEachran went to the feds, and the Department of Justice chimed in with tips on how to craft a warrant to pass constitutional muster.
Third time was the charm. Must be nice to have friends in high places…
Abuses of this sort aren’t limited to one side of the political aisle, as a group of conservative citizens in Wisconsin know all too well. Their own saga began around 2010, when the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office opened a secret probe into the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office, run at the time by then-gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker.
Three years later, Wisconsinites affiliated with right-of-center groups that had supported Gov. Walker’s collective bargaining reforms had their homes raided by police officers in full riot gear before dawn.

Filed Under: Alex Cordell, In the News, Published Articles

SCOTUS Brief in Brief: Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

On February 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky. In 2010, Minnesota prohibited a voter from wearing a T-shirt that depicted the Gadsden flag while voting, restricting his First Amendment right to express his political beliefs. Can Minnesota enforce a voter dress code? Or will […]

Filed Under: Blog, Infographic, Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, SCOTUS, U.S. Supreme Court, Minnesota

Understanding Super PACs

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 […]

Filed Under: Blog, Super PACs, Infographic, SpeechNow.org v. FEC

Every American’s Ability to Speak About the President is What Really Makes America Great

No president in the history of the United States has ever had a 100% approval rating, and likely no president ever will. The Trump administration, which is in no danger of hitting the 100% mark, has received its fair share of criticism. While there are many who approve of what President Trump has done during […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Super PACs, Donald Trump, Tom Steyer

Looks Like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Missed the Memo on Doing Wealthy Donors’ Bidding

The idea that politicians are only accountable to those who write the biggest checks has been peddled for years by those trying to justify greater government regulation of political speech. These folks argue that democracy in the U.S. would be better off if the government had more flexibility to do things like restrict campaign contributions, […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, #MeToo, Al Franken, Donors, Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Susie Tompkins Buell

D.C. Taxpayers Would Have a “Greater Voice” if They Could Choose Whether to Contribute to Local Politicians

On Tuesday, the D.C. City Council voted unanimously in favor of a tax-financing program for city campaigns. Dubbed the “Fair Elections Act of 2018,” the bill would provide tax dollars to candidates running for Mayor, City Council, Attorney General, and the State Board of Education if they agree to limit their spending and reach the […]

Filed Under: Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, clean elections, David Grosso, District of Columbia, Fair Elections Act, Los Angeles, Muriel Bowser, New York City, California, New York

Arizona State Senator Needs a Dose of Reality on the Negative Side Effects of Banning Marijuana Billboard Messages

Over 20 years ago, Arizona residents legalized the sale of marijuana for medical uses, but just last year, they narrowly vetoed a proposition that would have legalized the substance for recreational use as well. As in many other states around the country, this has been, and remains, a very contentious topic. Understandably, people on both […]

Filed Under: Blog, State Press Releases and Blogs, Advertising, Arizona Legislature, Billboards, David Farnsworth, Marijuana Legalization, Arizona

Brace Yourself for the Tax Ads, You Just Might Learn Something

As the end of the year approaches, legislation that amends portions of the federal tax code is moving quickly through Congress. Unsurprisingly, over the past couple of weeks, this effort has dominated the news cycle. As new amendments are penciled in every day, those in favor, those opposed, and those who fall somewhere in the […]

Filed Under: Blog, Ads, Advertising, Tax Reform

Let’s Talk Turkey: Comparing 2016 Election and Thanksgiving Spending

During the time-honored tradition of contentious political discussions at the Thanksgiving dinner table, one of your relatives may have mentioned the amount of money ($6.4 Billion) spent in the 2016 election cycle, asserting that there is “too much money in politics.” Many advocates for greater government regulation of political speech would say the same. But, […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Infographic, Online Spending, Thanksgiving

There’s Nothing Sweet About Censorship

For many of us, the closest encounter we have ever had with threatening phone calls and messages or cars tailing you on your way home is in a movie theater. For others, however, like Dr. Esperanza Cerón and her colleagues at Educar Consumidores in Bogotá, Colombia, they’ve experienced harassment, intimidation, and censorship first hand. All […]

Filed Under: Blog, IRS and the Tea Party, Issues, Colombia, Educar Consumidores, Enforcement, False Statement Laws, Harassment, Intimidation, Soda Taxes, Wisconsin

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