Mitch McConnell: Democrats To Hold Vote Against Free Speech

Senator Mitch McConnell calls this an assault on free speech

(Politico) hroughout August, senators had the opportunity to travel around their states and listen to the concerns of their constituents. The American people have a lot on their minds these days — important issues they expect the Democrat-run Senate to address: things like high unemployment, threats of terrorism, rising health care costs and the ongoing crisis at the border.

Unfortunately, hardly any of those things will be on the Senate’s agenda when it returns Monday.

That’s because the Democrats who control the Senate say they’re more interested in repealing the free speech protections the First Amendment guarantees to all Americans. Their goal is to shut down the voices of their critics at a moment when they fear the loss of their fragile Senate majority. And to achieve it, they’re willing to devote roughly half of the remaining legislative days before November to this quixotic anti-speech gambit.

The proposal they want to consider would empower incumbent politicians to write the rules on who gets to speak and who doesn’t. And while no one likes to be criticized, the way for Senate Democrats to avoid it is to make better arguments, or even better, to come up with better ideas — not shut up their constituents.

To be more clear, Harry Reid and the Democrats are planning a procedural vote today on a proposed Constitutional Amendment which would let Congress write the rules to regulate campaign spending, which reads, in its latest incarnation

“Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”

“Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.”

“Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.”

What’s missing is that Congress itself solicits these bribes, er, campaign donations. Notice that they are good enough to say they won’t abridge freedom of the press. What of religion and free speech? Peaceable protest and redress of grievance? Of course, simply passing this legislation would, in fact, violate the 1st Amendment to start with.

Not surprisingly, a proposal as bad as the one Senate Democrats are pushing won’t even come close to garnering the votes it would need to pass. But to many Democrats, that’s just the point. They want this proposal to fail because they think that somehow would help them on Election Day — they think it will help drive to the polls more left-wing voters who don’t like having to defend their ideas.

While I certainly agree with Senator McConnell, he is missing the fact that it’s not just about getting the vote out, but that Democrats actually want to do this. They want this Amendment passed, so that they can regulate donations, activities, and such for private entities on the political Right in every possible manner. He certainly understands, as he writes, that virtually everything the Democrats have offered up for vote this year has been designed to fail, in order to Blame Republicans, a brazen bit of hyper-partisanship.

Forty six Democrats have signed on to this amendment, which will never pass, since it requires a two thirds “aye” vote. Republicans should not filibuster or stop this vote in any way. In fact, they should allow it to go up for an official vote, in order to put Democrats on record as voting to limit the 1st Amendment.

(Wall Street Journal) The critics also ignore that Citizens United and McCutcheon make it easier for the unions on which the Democrats rely to spend money on elections. Unions outspent businesses by more than 2 to 1 in 2013. If money corrupts, then one would expect Mr. Reid and his colleagues to condemn the “corrupt” influence of unions in politics. And these Democrats presumably would brand liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s pledge to commit his political-action committee to spend $100 million to defeat Republicans in 2014 as especially corrupting—but Mr. Reid has instead welcomed the support.

Democrats claim that the Supreme Court has made politicians and political parties less accountable by encouraging donations involving outside interest groups. Outside of what? Democrat fundraising circles? Their actual fear is that less traditional candidates—including outsiders—will have the funding necessary to challenge incumbents in primaries without the blessing of party elders.

Strange how Reid and Democrats have no problem with money coming from outside groups and corporations into their own coffers, wouldn’t you say?

More: via Memeorandum, Senators Udall and Sanders try and paint this proposed amendment at pro-free speech

No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans. If we cannot control billionaires’ power to buy elections, the people elected to office will be responsive to the needs of the rich and powerful, rather than the needs of everyone else.

When the Supreme Court says, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally protected speech and that attempts to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger.

Americans’ right to free speech should not be proportionate to their bank accounts. This is why we have introduced a constitutional amendment to reform our broken campaign-finance system.

I call on the Democrat Party to immediately refuse to take donations from anyone other than private individuals who make $100k or less. No money from industries, guilds, unions, fat cat donors, nor companies. If they think the money is so bad, this should be no problem, right?

Let’s just ignore all the industry money he has received, oh, and look, 60% of his individual contributions come from “large individual contributors”, as opposed to small ones.

Let’s also note that the Constitution, and the Bill Of Rights, makes absolutely no distinction between individuals and entities like companies, corporations, interest groups, etc.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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