The free speech of their political opponents, that is.
Barack Obama continues his efforts at changing the tone in Washington:
President Obama on Saturday slammed congressional Republicans for opposing efforts that would force special-interest groups to disclose their donors for campaign-related activities.
He argued that eliminating free speech was critical to the country:
“It’s up to all of us to defend that most basic American principle of a government of, by, and for the people. What’s at stake is not just an election. It’s our democracy itself,” Obama said.
The Obama campaign has shattered all fund-raising records, raking in $458 million so far, with about half the bounty coming from donors who contribute $200 or less. Aides say that’s an illustration of a truly democratic campaign. To critics, though, it can be an invitation for fraud and illegal foreign cash because donors giving individual sums of $200 or less don’t have to be publicly reported. Consider the cases of Obama donors “Doodad Pro” of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and “Good Will” of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000—both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit.
In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments. “Good Will” listed his employer as “Loving” and his occupation as “You,” while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had “no clue” who the donor was. She added, however, that the group had received five puzzling thank-you letters from the Obama campaign this year, prompting it to send the campaign an e-mail in September pointing out the apparent fraudulent use of its name.
“Doodad Pro” listed no occupation or employer; the contributor’s listed address is shared by Lloyd and Lynn’s Liquor Store in Nunda. “I have never heard of such an individual,” says Diane Beardsley, who works at the store and is the mother of one of the owners. “Nobody at this store has that much money to contribute.” (She added that a Doodad’s Boutique, located next door, had closed a year ago, before the donations were made.)
The dependable Associated Press covered for Obama:
Running interference for criminal fraud: that’s the role of the Associated Press since it became a liberal advocacy organization.
But let’s have a close look at the DISCLOSE Act.
If the legislation, called the Disclose Act, lived up to its name, it might be uncontroversial. People across the ideological spectrum tend to say that forcing corporations and others to disclose their contributions is a good response to the pernicious influence of money on politics.
The problem is that the bill in Congress goes beyond disclosure, and even its authors say that it could, in practice, limit the involvement of corporations and unions in elections. “The deterrent effect should not be underestimated,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in unveiling the bill.
Here’s how The Heritage Foundation broke it down:
The real effects of the DISCLOSE Act will be to deter political speech (including criticism of incumbents, such as its chief sponsors, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)) and political advocacy by corporations and associations that Democrats don’t want participating in the American political process. It includes both absolute bans on independent political advocacy and new, burdensome disclosure requirements. Schumer admitted when he introduced the bill that “the deterrent effect should not be underestimated.” During a House Administration Committee hearing, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) made no bones about the fact that he hoped this Act “chills out all . . . I have no problem whatsoever keeping everybody out [of elections]. If I could keep all outside entities out, I would.”
Unless, of course, you were a protected outside entity. Like unions.
Of course, the “deterrent” and “chilling” effect is meant to hit corporations — including nonprofit associations like Citizens United, the conservative advocacy organization that brought the original lawsuit — but not unions, which are exempted from most of the provisions of the bill. No surprise there, since unions support Democrats almost exclusively, with huge amounts of money. And the majority party is moving this bill at a breakneck pace through Congress to have it in place for the November elections, because Democrats fear November will be their election Waterloo.
The DISCLOSE Act would ban certain government contractors from engaging in any political speech, yet unions that represent government employees, and organizations like Planned Parenthood that receive large amounts of federal grants, would not be affected. American companies with American workers and American officers could be banned from speaking if a small minority of their shareholders are foreigners, yet unions with foreign officers and foreign members could spend as much money on political advocacy as they want. And many of the new disclosure provisions imposed by the act were made onerous and burdensome for the specific purpose of deterring political speech.
Democrats rammed it through the House in their usual steamroller fashion.
Overcoming opposition from within their own ranks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic House leaders pushed through a controversial campaign finance reform bill Thursday on a 219-206 vote.
This thing needs to be killed. Anything that Obama wants this badly is automatically bad for America.
Obama on Saturday once again threw his weight behind the congressional fix that he said would help voters make an informed judgment about a group’s motivations. Also, foreign-controlled corporations would be restricted from spending money to influence elections, just as they were before the Supreme Court opened up this loophole, Obama explained.
But countless millions donated fraudulently to Obama?