Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category
Al Franken and Sherrod Brown are just 2 of the Democratic senators that want to limit political speech. Truthfully, all 55 senators that caucus with the Democrats think that political speech should be regulated by the Senate. Here’s Sen. Brown’s latest attack on the First Amendment:
Where to start with Citizens United?
It’s brought unprecedented outside spending into our elections. It’s undercut the public’s faith in their elected officials. And it’s cowed Congress by putting a target on the back of any member who tries to stand up to special interests — like they did with me, when special interests spent $40 million against me in 2012.
Corporations are not people. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t say that “all corporations are created equal.” And there’s no good reason to pretend that corporations have the same rights as real, flesh-and-blood people.
But that’s exactly what Citizens United does, and in the process, it allows corporate cash to flood our elections and distract voters from issues that really matter.
Citizens United has done major damage to our democracy. Today, we start undoing that damage. Add your name to mine and demand an end to Citizens United.
First, I’d love hearing Sen. Brown, or Sen. Franken for that matter, explain where in the text of the First Amendment it says that corporations don’t have the right of political speech. Here’s the text of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Founding Fathers meant for there to be robust debate of the issues. Notice, too, that they mentioned that “people”, not individuals, should have the right to peaceably assemble or petition their government “for a redress of grievances.”
Further, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain how a union is a group of individuals but a corporation isn’t a group of individuals.
The truth is that the Democrats’ attempt to amend the Constitution is all about election year politicking. The Democrats should be forced to explain why pro-Democrat political organizations should have the right to participate in the political process but pro-Republican organizations shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the political process. Finally, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain why incumbents should have the right to regulate anti-incumbent political speech. Why should I think incumbents are honest arbiters of what is and isn’t acceptable political speech?
Yesterday, I got an email alert about a lawsuit filed by the Center for Competitive Politics challenging the constitutionality of another provision of McCain-Feingold. Here’s the heart of the matter:
The Independence Institute wishes to run two ads: one asking Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett to support a federal sentencing reform bill, and one asking citizens to contact Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and urge him to initiate an audit of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. The McCain-Feingold law, along with a similar state statute, effectively prevents the group from raising money for the ads.
“This situation shows the damage to free speech caused by carelessly written campaign finance laws,” said David Keating, president of CCP. “Instead of advocacy on an important public issue, there will be silence. That’s unacceptable under the First Amendment, and is the reason why we filed this lawsuit.”
Prior to the passage of Obamacare, McCain-Feingold was the worst legislation in the last half century. I can’t even say that the intent behind McCain-Feingold was good. Its effect was to protect incumbents while limiting political speech.
There’s nothing honorable about either thing.
Here’s what McCain-Feingold does to issue advocacy:
Colorado and federal law treat speech about public issues as campaign speech whenever a candidate is mentioned in a broadcast ad within 60 days of the general election. Groups must either file public reports with personal details about donors who have provided funds for the ads, or refrain from speaking. The result is what First Amendment advocates call a “chilling” effect on advocacy, depriving the public of important speech about issues of public importance.
Here’s why disclosure in these instances is frightening:
Donors and speakers have many reasons to protect their privacy. Some fear retaliation from government officials who disagree with them. Others fear physical harm or threats to themselves and their families, vandalism to their property, loss of jobs, or boycotts of their business if they support unpopular views.
Over half a century ago, the Supreme Court ruled in NAACP v. Alabama that not disclosing donors to issue advocacy groups was constitutionally protected. Imagine the fury that the KKK would’ve visited upon the people supporting the NAACP.
While the threats are different today, the threats are just as real. Instead of fearing the KKK, these days, issue advocacy groups have to worry about the Justice Department, the IRS and other agents representing weaponized government.
It’s time to eliminate another disgusting part of McCain-Feingold. The sooner it’s eliminated, the better.
Technorati: McCain-Feingold, Censorship, Issue Advocacy, NAACP v. Alabama, Supreme Court, Independence Institute, Center for Competitive Politics, Civil Rights, First Amendment, Weaponized Government, IRS, DOJ
This article proves that Lois Lerner is thoroughly corrupt:
In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.
At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS.
Lerner wrote, “We looked at the information you provided regarding organizations that report substantial amounts of political activity and lobbying expenditures on the DOL Form LM-2, but report little to no political expenditures on the Form 990 filed with the IRS.”
“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS,” Lerner concluded.
Talk about a parsable sentence. Here’s something with a little less spin:
In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank. That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.
What’s $30,000,000 in indirect political expenditures amongst political allies, right? It isn’t like $30,000,000 could tip a handful of House and Senate races, right?
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only time Ms. Lerner turned a blind eye towards this type of corruption:
Also in 2006 the Teamsters Union reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $7,081,965 with the Labor Department.
Again in 2006, Unite-Here reported no political activity with the IRS and $1,451,002 with the Labor Department.
In 2005, the National Education Association also reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $24,985,250 with the Labor Department.
We’re supposed to believe that all this money was spent on lobbying Congress, not on campaigns? That’s as insulting as it is dishonest.
Lerner is a partisan hack. She should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, that won’t happen because we have an equally corrupt partisan hack as US Attorney General.
When I wrote this post, I wrote it to highlight the tactics Democrats use to steal elections. In the first post, I focused on the things the local Democratic Party is doing.
Unfortunately, this isn’t just happening at the state level. It’s happening at the federal level, too:
NOM said that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston, MA. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague that he had “a conduit” to obtain NOM’s confidential information. While testifying under oath in a deposition in the litigation, Meisel invoked the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination and refused to disclose the identity of his conduit. Documents obtained during the litigation prove that Meisel then provided NOM’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign (whose president was a national Co-Chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign). The information was also published by the Huffington Post.
The weaponization of government by Democrats can’t be denied. In Wisconsin, John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County Attorney, opened a John Doe investigation into something that isn’t a crime in a blatant political move to scuff up Scott Walker in the hope that he’d either lose his re-election bid or that he’d be damaged goods if he wanted to run for governor.
In Minnesota, 13 DFL candidates for the Minnesota state senate coordinated their mailings with the DFL Senate Campaign Committee in an attempt to steal the Senate majority. When 11 DFL candidates got elected, the DFL Senate Caucus wrote a $100,000 check.
Nationally, the IRS sent the Human Rights Council, an issue advocacy organization, confidential IRS filings from the National Organization for Marriage, aka NOM, that listed NOM’s contributors. That’s been prohibited since the US Supreme Court issued its ruling on the NAACP v. Alabama lawsuit on June 30, 1958.
The point of this is to show the Democrats’ disdain for the rule of law, long-settled Supreme Court rulings and the Bill of Rights. If these things are standing between Democrats and election victories, then it’s predictable that Democrats will ignore the rule of law, the Bill of Rights and US Supreme Court rulings.
If I wanted to summarize this with a bit of snark, I’d say that the Democrats’ method of operation is this: Win if you can, lose if you must but always cheat. In the Democrats’ minds, it isn’t really cheating if its for the greater good.
I know that lefties’ heads will explode when they hear this but that’s their problem. These are just some of the most recent incidents when the left just threw the rules out the window. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
These days, the Democrats’ defining priority is winning at all cost. If that means lying, fine. If that means breaking well-established laws, that’s ok. If that means intimidating people out of participating in the political process, Democrats don’t have a problem with that.
Democrats won’t hesitate in cheating if it helps them win elections. The only question I have is this: when did Democrats stop caring about the rule of law?
Technorati: Chilling Speech, Censorship, IRS, Confidential Records, National Organization for Marriage, Human Rights Council, Matthew Meisel, Weaponized Government, NAACP v. Alabama, Democrats, Supreme Court Rulings, Campaign Finance Laws, Elections
Thanks to this article by the Wisconsin Reporter, conservatives can learn about the Democratic Party’s witch hunt machine. Anyone that thinks Democrats are nice people that conservatives simply disagree with is badly mistaken. Read the article, then tell me that:
MADISON, Wis. – Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.
That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.
Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.
That the John Doe prosecutors tried to get records from “at least eight phone companies” is frightening enough. Who needs the NSA when Wisconsin has these John Doe prosecutors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there:
Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.
“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Anyone that thinks this is just a case of some rogue prosecutors gone bad apparently hasn’t paid attention to Rosemary Lehmberg’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX). These naive people should read this, too:
Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. Sources have described predawn “paramilitary-style” raids in which their posessions were rifled through and seized by law enforcement officers.
If you thought that weaponized government was just a term used by paranoid conservatives, you’d better rethink things. This is proof that some Democratic prosecutors will use their office for blatantly political purposes. Again and unfortunately, that isn’t all these Democratic thugs with law degrees did. Here’s more:
Court documents show the extraordinary breadth of the prosecutors’ subpoena requests.
They sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period, “which happened to be the most contentious period in political politics,” the conservatives note. They note that prosecutors did not pursue the same tactics with left-leaning organizations that pumped tens of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s recall elections, in what certainly appeared to be a well-coordinated effort.
Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing.
In other words, these Democrats wanted confidential information. That’s why the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Eric O’Keefe filed their civil rights lawsuit.
There’s little doubt that these Democrats would’ve used the information they gathered through their witch hunt to chill these conservatives’ desire to participate in the political process. The only retaliation against these Democrats is to a)prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law when possible, b) end their political careers by removing them from their positions of political power and c) pressure Democrat politicians into passing sweeping reforms to prevent these fishing expeditions from today going forward.
If Democrats aren’t willing to limit rogue prosecutors’ ability to conduct political fishing expeditions, then we’ll know that they approve of these Democrats’ behavior.
Thanks to M.D. Kittle and the Wisconsin Reporter, we now know that these Democrats were attempting to chill conservatives from exercising their right to participate in the political process. This needs to be stopped ASAP and it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.
Technorati: John Doe Prosecutors, John Chisholm, Political Witch Hunt, Subpoenaes, Bank Records, Emails, Phone Records, Civil Rights Violations, Chilling Effect, Smear Campaign, Weaponized Government, Democrats, Scott Walker, Eric O’Keefe, Wisconsin Club for Growth, Civil Rights Lawsuit, First Amendment, Rick Perry, Republicans
Recently, I’ve written about a corrupt government agency that’s titled the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board. In this post, I wrote about something that the IRRRB funded:
It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.
This afternoon, I wrote this post to talk about how the IRRRB resurrected that program with a little twist:
EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership.
The Minnesota offices of Dollars for Democrats went bankrupt a few weeks ago, leaving Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for $650,000 in unpaid loans from the IRRRB. What’s disgusting beyond the stupidity of making $650,000 worth of loans to a company on the verge of bankruptcy is that taxpayers were paying for a political operation.
That shouldn’t happen. Ever. Still, it’s happened twice in the past couple months. Government, whether it’s state or federal government, shouldn’t make loans or give grants to political operations. Period. If a political party wants to open a call center or coordination center, they should do it with their own money. Taxpayers shouldn’t finance political operations.
Here’s the IRRRB’s mission statement:
Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a State of Minnesota development agency located in Eveleth, Minnesota. IRRRB’s mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.
IRRRB provides vital funding, including low or no interest loans, grants and loan guarantees for businesses relocating or expanding in the region. Additionally, a variety of grants are available to local units of government, education institutions, and nonprofits that promote workforce development and sustainable communities.
How can the IRRRB or New Partners say that getting equipment from a bankrupt company is investing businesses, communities or workforce development?
Another thing that’s disgusting is New Partners is an operation for national Democrats. Here’s part of New Partners’ leadership team:
In 2007, Paul began the Obama for America campaign as State Director for the Iowa caucuses. For nearly a year, Paul and his team built the largest grassroots organization in caucus history. The year culminated with an Obama win in January 2008, a win that launched his historical campaign. Paul was also instrumental in putting together the blueprint for President Obama’s organizational efforts in the General Election.
From 2005-2009, McMahon served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). There he was one of the principal architects of the ground-breaking “50 state strategy” that transformed and modernized the Democratic Party resulting in historic electoral gains in both 2006 and 2008 at the state, local and federal levels and laying the groundwork for President Obama’s historic win in 2008.
Cara Morris Stern
From 2000-2004, Cara served as a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. During her tenure at the DSCC, Cara worked with national political reporters to help frame the nation’s most visible and competitive Senate campaigns as well as develop message for donor communications.
The IRRRB, led by former DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, just provided seed money and equipment to a political organization whose goal is to elect Democrats. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for any political operation from any political party. Period.
That’s before talking about whether the business model makes sense. (It doesn’t.) This is what politically motivated crony capitalism looks like. Inevitably, crony capitalism is corrupt, which this operation certainly is.
EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership. Staffing will begin as soon as all agreements are in place, possibly as early as next week.
“We are pleased to have played a role in facilitating the reopening of the center,” said Sertich. “This project will result in new job opportunities, particularly for those displaced by the Meyer closing.”
Sertich recognized Gilbert native Jerry Samargia of New Partners, stating, “I am thankful to Jerry for investing in the center and the people of the Iron Range.”
He also praised Virginia Eveleth Economic Development Authority representatives and Gary Owen, former owner of Meyer, for putting a deal together in such a short time.
New Partners isn’t well-known. I think it’s time it got some notoriety. Here’s what New Partners is in their own words:
New Partners is more than just a new firm with new people and new ideas. We also represent a new way of doing business. Whether the goal is to win an election, affect reputation, organize an advocacy campaign, raise money, or build a movement, our extensive expertise and groundbreaking strategies will get results.
We are all operating in a new environment based on a fundamental shift in how we organize, how we communicate and how we advocate. From the campaign that defeated President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, and implementing Governor Howard Dean’s landmark 50 State Strategy, to spearheading an innovative and successful development effort for the One Campaign, and the unprecedented Iowa caucus campaign that led to President Obama’s breakthrough victory, the team at New Partners has been at the epicenter of that shift.
What we have learned from our experience is that no two issues, organizations or campaigns are the same. Each requires a unique approach based on new ideas and new strategies that will lead to new results.
That means that the IRRRB is spending taxpayers’ money on a company committed to electing Democrats. The list of New Partners’ leadership reads like a who’s who from the Obama campaign.
If the Democratic Party want to put an organization together, that’s their right. It’s just that this type of operation shouldn’t be paid for by taxpayers. And there’s no question it’s being funded by taxpayers. That’s the IRRRB’s way. The IRRRB hasn’t met a project benefitting the Democratic Party that they didn’t like.
The DNC should finance this operation. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t finance it. Having taxpayers finance the DNC’s operations is the definition of crony capitalism meeting single party government. That’s the definition of corruption.
The DFL must see the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, as utterly annoying. What other reason would the DFL have for pushing that’s already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? This language from HF1944 looks familiar:
Subdivision 1. Electioneering communication. (a) “Electioneering communication” means a communication distributed by television, radio, satellite, or cable broadcasting system; by means of printed material, signs, or billboards; or through the use of telephone communications that:
(1) refers to a clearly identified candidate;
(2) is made within:
(i) 30 days before a primary election or special primary election for the office sought by the candidate; or (ii) 60 days before a general election or special election for the office sought by the candidate; (3) is targeted to the relevant electorate; and (4) is made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or a candidate’s principal campaign committee or agent.
(b) If an electioneering communication clearly directs recipients to another communication, including a Web site, on-demand or streaming video, or similar communications, the electioneering communication consists of both the original electioneering communication and the communication to which recipients are directed and the cost of both must be included when determining if disclosure is required under this section.
McCain-Feingold, aka the BCRA, prohibited certain types of speech 30 days before a primary election and/or 60 days before the general election. Here’s the relevant part of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling:
The statute is underinclusive; it only protects a dissenting shareholder’s interests in certain media for 30 or 60 days before an election when such interests would be implicated in any media at any time.
Here’s another important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC:
Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials ac-countable to the people—political speech must prevail against lawsthat would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”
Despite that clear ruling, the DFL insists on pushing a bill that includes provisions that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled unconstitutional. It isn’t just that they’ve ruled these provisions unconstitutional, either. It’s that they said future legislation had to pass strict scrutiny, which is described like this:
subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”
The DFL knows that this is an extra-high hurdle that they likely can’t overcome. What’s disturbing is that the DFL isn’t hesitating in writing legislation that violates people’s rights to participate in the political process.
This is the definition of shameful, too:
Question: Why do Democrats hate certain types of political speech?
Technorati: SCOTUS, Citizens United, First Amendment, Constitution, Political Speech, Censorship, Al Franken, Katie Sieben, Jim Carlson, John Marty, Kent Eken, Steve Simon, Laurie Halverson, Ryan Winkler, Connie Bernardy, John Persell, Democrats, DFL, Elections, Election 2014
According to this article, Sen. Tom Bakk folded like a cheap suit the minute his bluff was called. All it took was for Gov. Dayton to finally show a little leadership:
Hobbling on crutches, Gov. Mark Dayton made his first public appearance at the Capitol in five weeks Tuesday to blast fellow DFLers in the Legislature for holding up tax cuts for Minnesotans while they squabble over whether to build a Senate office building.
The issue apparently was resolved about 90 minutes after Dayton’s verbal broadside when Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor leaders announced they intend to pass the tax cuts the governor wants without any office building strings attached.
Debate on the Senate bill begins Wednesday morning in the Senate Tax Committee.
Dayton, who is recovering from hip surgery, said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday that he was “very, very, very disappointed” the DFL-controlled Legislature had not passed a tax bill.
Sen. Bakk’s announcement means the House Rules Committee can reject Bakk’s $90,000,000 office building and parking ramp project without hurting taxpayers. Sen. Bakk just folded like a cheap suit on his signature issue.
If Rep. Murphy and her committee approve Sen. Bakk’s project, it’ll be proof that they aren’t fit for governing because they don’t care about Minnesota taxpayers. They should have their gavels taken away with this November’s elections if they approve Bakk’s ill-advided project.
Predictably, Sen. Bakk insisted that he wasn’t playing hardball:
A short time later, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, defused the dispute by proclaiming the Senate Tax Committee would hold hearings on its tax cut bill Wednesday and Thursday morning and the full Senate likely would vote on the measure later Thursday. “The Senate building is not in the bill,” Bakk said.
The House passed its tax-cut bill March 6. Bakk said the Senate had always planned to pass its version by the end of March, after a review of the proposed changes. “There has been no delay,” he said.
Right. Governors frequently and publicly criticize leaders of their own party.
Sen. Bakk has been rolled on this. Now he doesn’t have any leverage to bargain with that’ll force the House to approve his office building and parking ramp project. The only other bill that the DFL wants to pass is the bill raising the minimum wage. Sen. Bakk doesn’t have any justification for holding that up. If he held the minimum wage bill hostage, he’d be ending his political career.
Playing hardball with that bill within an all-DFL legislature would end Sen. Bakk’s time as majority leader and end any hope he’d have of running for governor. The activists might draw and quarter him if he tried that. It wouldn’t be pretty.
Hans Spakovsky’s post on the Heritage Foundation’s blog is a fantastic one-stop-shopping-center for what the IRS’s proposed rules mean:
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee questioned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The Committee released an email it had obtained from inside the Treasury Department showing that back in 2012 when it appears that the IRS was in the middle of trying to prevent conservative organizations from being granted tax exempt status, the administration was already planning to draft new regulations restricting the political activity of the same organizations. The email was sent by Ruth Madrigal of the Office of Tax Policy at Treasury to Lois Lerner, the IRS official who refused to answer questions from Congress about the scandal by asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
That June 14, 2012, email indicated that Madrigal and Lerner would be devising the new rules “off-plan,” which is federal government-speak meaning that their plan would not be published on the public schedule of the IRS. What is significant about this email is that it flatly contradicts prior assertions by the Obama administration that the proposed new regulations defining “candidate-related political activity” were planned only after the IRS scandal was made public in order to “clarify” the regulations. Instead, it appears the administration not only tried to delay and prevent conservative organizations from receiving their tax-exempt status prior to the 2012 election, but was also already planning new regulations that would stifle their political speech and potential criticism of the administration.
In short, the Obama administration intended to silence its critics while violating Americans’ constitutional rights. The Obama administration didn’t hesitate in crushing TEA Party organizations’ First Amendment rights.
If we had an attorney general that was interested in justice, Lois Lerner would’ve been prosecuted and convicted already. That’s because she lied to Congress about the IRS scandal was restricted to a couple rogue IRS agents in their Cincinnati office. That’s before finding out that she knew about the proposed new rules that would intentionally trample TEA Party organizations’ First Amendment rights.
What’s most important is that Chuck Schumer and Al Franken think it’s a good idea for the IRS to redouble their efforts of improperly investigating and harassing these TEA Party organizations.
This is just the continuation of the Democrats’ assault against the Citizens United ruling. That’s the ruling which said that it’s better to have more political speech. Democrats disagree, insisting that less political speech, especially that which happens close to an election or primary, is desirable.
When the Citizens United ruling took away the FEC’s ability to limit speech in 2010, the administration switched to Plan B. That meant the IRS would replace the FEC as the federal government’s agency in charge of limiting political speech. John Hinderaker’s post highlights what the Obama administration thinks of political speech. Here’s part of a speech Lois Lerner gave on the subject:
What happened last year was the Supreme Court–the law kept getting chipped away, chipped away, in the federal election arena. The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it.
They want the IRS to fix the problem. The IRS laws are not set up to fix the problem: (c)(4)s can do straight political activity. They can go out and pay for an ad that says “Vote for Joe Blow.” That’s something they can do as long as their primary activity is their (c)(4) activity, which is social welfare.
Q: When did political speech become a problem to be fixed? A: When this administration took over. It’s been their habit to eliminate political speech that doesn’t sing from their hymnal.
The telling line in Ms. Lerner’s speech is “The IRS Laws aren’t set up to fix the problem: c4s can do straight political activity.” Corporations still can’t contribute to candidates’ campaigns. That shouldn’t mean they can’t spend money campaigning on issues important to them. If unions have the right to campaign on issues important to them, then corporations have the right to do the same.
This article does an excellent job explaining the IRS’s proposed new rules:
But under the proposed rules, which would remove a 501(c)(4)’s tax exemption if it engages in virtually any political activity, if they choose to do so collectively, rather than individually, the organization will be subject to income tax on the amount it collects. If an individual spends $1,000 on posters, he will get $1,000 worth; but if he donates $1,000 to the organization, it will have to pay $350 to the IRS and will be left with only $650 to purchase posters.
That’s the Obama administration’s ‘fix’ to the free speech ‘problem’.
Technorati: Lois Lerner, President Obama, Censorship, First Amendment, Citizens United, IRS, FEC, Unions, Corporations, Poltical Campaigns, Democrats, Elections