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FEC kills free speech proposal
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Federal Election Commission voted on a proposal today that would have eased the ban on political advertising maning specific candidates for office less than 60 days prior to an election. The result?
Federal election regulators refused to ease limits on political advertising Tuesday, blocking an effort to let interest groups run radio and television ads mentioning elected officials within weeks of an election.

The Federal Election Commission voted 3-3 on a proposal that would have allowed such ads as long as they addressed public policy issues and did not promote, support, oppose or attack a sitting member of Congress. Supporters of the change said they wanted to strike a balance between campaign ad restrictions and constitutional free speech guarantees.

The measure failed with the commission's three Democrats voting against the proposal and the three Republicans backing it.
You can dress a pig up in a pretty dress and make it dance, but it's still a pig. You can call this campaign finance reform, and it's still a ban on free speech. Moreover, the ban on mentioning a politician's name is nothing more than naked incumbent protection.

John McCain may be the darling of some, but, as far as I'm concerned, his work in campaign finance reform, and his dismissal of First Amendment concerns should disqualify him from any support by anyone who is concerned about civil liberties.
 
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Absolutely.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Thank you.

Everything else about him (POW status, temper, etc.) is beside the point.

His many year long crusade to restrict political speech is unforgivable.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
I long ago decided to never vote for McCain for any office, to actively work against him in any run for President, and to ignore this law, including to vote to acquit anyone tried under the law if I am sitting on a jury in such a case.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
What a strange set of coincidences. I consider myself very pro-free speech and pro-civil liberties, and John McCain is one of my more favorite Republicans (behind Chuck Hagel).

We’ll have to explore this fascinating set of contradictions another time, though. I guess the short version would be that I don’t see how McCain-Feingold constrains my personal freedom of speech in any way whatsoever. Also, our politicians must constantly prostitute themselves or risk going down in defeat, and that disease seems worse than the attempted cures.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I guess the short version would be that I don’t see how McCain-Feingold constrains my personal freedom of speech in any way whatsoever.
OK, then. Try to put on a radio ad saying something bad about a local congressman sometime in October, and see how far your freedom of speech gets you. Try to give 10,000 to your local Congressman, and see how that works out.
Also, our politicians must constantly prostitute themselves or risk going down in defeat, and that disease seems worse than the attempted cures.
Uh, one of the primary reasons they have to do that is because the contribution limits are so low, that must constantly fund raise night and day.

Ban all corporate, PAC, or other group contributions, and let individuals give all the money they please to whomever they please. Then require the names of all contributors and the amounts contributed on the Internet for everyone to see. Then let the voters make up their own mind about whether their candidates are the lap dog of some fat-cat.

Do that, and there won’t be any need for 527s, or "soft money" or whatever else you think "reform" is supposed to solve.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Speaking of the FEC, I have a question. Poking around the place I noticed that looking at the campaign contributions from committees, a pattern emerges - a committee contributes 1000 bucks here or there, then a month or two or six later, there’s a "contribution" in negative and equal amount. Could someone explain to me what 6/30/2006 +1000, 7/21/2006 -1000 actually accomplishes?

Use small words, I really don’t get it.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
Also, our politicians must constantly prostitute themselves or risk going down in defeat, and that disease seems worse than the attempted cures.
Yea there are two reasons for this, both are products of a liberal mindset such as you posses. 1) Government is too big and too powerful thus raising the stakes for elected office and thus inviting so much money. The second, is the current campaign finance reform which was to fix the previous campaign finance reform which was to fix the previous campaign finance reform which was to fix the previous campaign finance reform.

The only real reform which makes sense is to do away with this phony unconstitutional limits crap and simply replace it with total disclosure.
Any candidate can receive any amount of money from domestic sources but must fully disclose it.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Yes, I know it’s no suprise that this split down party lines. What is also not a suprise is that the 3 democrats will unlikely see a noticable backlash from voters, and certainly not to any extent of loosing their seats for voting against free speech. I have to say that a proper checks and balance of this particular commitee would be to have a either a constant vote until it is decided up or down, or a 7 person panel. But, neither will work because they would first put off the vote, and a 7 person panel will just be 4 dems and 3 reps because reps don’t have the backbone to take their majority. I am disgusted by people who are anti-competition.
 
Written By: Ike
URL: http://
I endorse the the view that the only constitutional laws that involve campaign finance restrictions with respect to noncandidates’ expenditures and contributions are ones that burden candidates with making their finances transparent to the public. Open ledgers, sunlight.

I am also not surprised that Democrats and Republican voted on this issue on party lines, with the Democrats voting against free speech and the constitution. The Dems have the most to gain by restricting general free speech to the good of the mainstream media, less respect for the constitution in the abstract, and the less the people care about politics and the less they know, the better off the Democrats are.

The real question is what happens when a blogger or someone else goes to jail or faces a fine for violating McCain-Feingold?

Sure we agitate against it, fund their defence until conviction, fund their appeal, get the case to Supreme Court, and support the side of right, true law, and the freedom of speech.

And given how the SC voted last time, we lose.

I think all this can be foreseen to be most probable, although other courses are possible.

I think the real question is how far and how hard we prepare to throw the riot.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Yes, I know it’s no suprise that this split down party lines.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the recent FISA brouhaha, the dems voted to follow the law as written, and the republicans favored an executive branch annulment of it. (this wasn’t a close call - the FEC proposal would’ve simply ignored the statute, as far as I can tell, by inventing new legal categories and then creating exemptions for them) The law is crap. But the proper remedy is to change the law, not violate it through sham interpretation.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
"The law is crap. But the proper remedy is to change the law, not violate it through sham interpretation."
No. When the law is this flatly unconstitutional, the proper remedy is to completely ignore it until it is removed from the books.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
What a strange set of coincidences. I consider myself very pro-free speech and pro-civil liberties, and John McCain is one of my more favorite Republicans (behind Chuck Hagel).

We’ll have to explore this fascinating set of contradictions another time, though.

Written By: glasnost


I suspect your pro-free speech view isn’t as deep as you think. I’ll pull a "Mono" and rely on someone else’s arguments:

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/huston/060304

http://www.reason.com/0512/fe.bs.john.shtml

Nice quote from the Reason article:

"In the legislative record there is considerable evidence that many supporters of McCain-Feingold specifically wanted the law to silence criticism of their own performance in office. The act includes a provision that prohibits most citizen groups, such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and Planned Parenthood, from making any broadcast advertisements within 60 days of an election that even mention a candidate for federal office."

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Of course, in the above I meant "Mona", not "Mono". Sorry for the confusion.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://

 
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