Incumbent protection

Democrats continued their assault on the First Amendment in the name of campaign finance reform Thursday as they unveiled their effort to undermine the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the rights of groups to engage in political speech.

Recall that during arguments in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, an attorney defending limits on political speech said that under the current law the government could conceivably ban a corporation from publishing a book critical of a candidate within 30 days of an election.

When the high court in January rightly blanched at the thought and tossed out the law limiting third party spending on political speech, progressives and their Democratic allies were left virtually ululating in the streets.

Book banning apparently trumps the First Amendment.

Now comes Chuck Schumer, D-TV Cameras, with the "Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections" (DISCLOSE) Act. Passed off as a "full disclosure" measure, the bill is a not-so-thinly veiled effort to intimidate corporations and other groups from spending money critical of incumbents.

Among other things, the bill would require the head of a group responsible for a political ad to appear in the commercial. So Congress can now dictate the production requirements of political advertisements? Why not just create a federal agency to ensure all political speech wins the approval of congressional Democrats?

Beware efforts to limit political discourse in the name of promoting it. The Schumer bill is just another incumbent protection measure masquerading as an agent of "good government." But whatever you call it, the bill is an affront to the First Amendment and deserves to be put down quickly.


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