RETURN OF THE SPEECH POLICE: 2012 It was the IRS. This Election? Watch the DOJ

censorship

You won’t read much about it in the Beltway press corps, but a behind-the-scenes effort is under way to lobby the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department to stifle free political speech the way the Internal Revenue Service did in 2012. Don’t be surprised if the subpoenas hit Republican candidates at crucial political moments.

“Justice’s involvement elbows in on the regulatory province of the FEC, an agency explicitly designed with a 3-3 partisan split to prevent it from being co-opted by one party. And that’s the point. Democracy 21 says it is lobbying Justice because the FEC has become ‘dysfunctional.'”

In late May the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 asked the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Right to Rise Super PAC for violating campaign-finance law. According to the letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “If Bush is raising and spending money as a candidate, he is a candidate under the law, whether or not he declares himself to be one.”

Hillary-Shrug

“We don’t recall any such cry when the FEC dismissed a similar complaint against the Ready for Hillary PAC regarding an email sent by the independent group to a list-serve provided by Friends of Hillary.”

The theory behind this accusation is campaign “coordination,” the new favorite tool of the anti-speech political left. Earlier this year the Justice Department invited such complaints with a public statement that it would “aggressively pursue coordination offenses at every appropriate opportunity.”

Under federal law, illegal coordination occurs if a campaign expenditure (say, a TV ad) mentions a candidate by name in the 120 days before a presidential primary, or if it advocates for a candidate and if the candidate and Super PAC have coordinated the content of the ad.

March 27, 2014: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, during a education panel discussion at Advanced Technologies Academy, in Las Vegas. Bush is the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which promotes expanding charter schools and vouchers to allow students to attend private schools. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jeff Scheid)

“The liberal accusers say Mr. Bush is over the line because the law defines political contributions and expenditures as money spent ‘for the purpose of influencing an election.'”

The liberals claim that a Super PAC raising and spending money in favor of a Bush candidacy should be treated as coordinated expenditures, making them de facto contributions to his campaign. Candidate is the operative word here, a designation that has always been applied to those who announce they are running for public office.

“The problem with that argument is that in Buckley v. Valeo the Supreme Court ruled that the ‘purpose of influencing’ language was unconstitutionally vague unless it refers to advertising that calls for the election or defeat of a candidate.”

Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer says Mr. Bush should be considered a candidate who is illegally coordinating because if you asked “100 ordinary Americans” if he is a candidate, they will say yes. What a bracing legal standard. What would the same 100 Americans have said about Hillary Clinton in 2013, or Ted Cruz in high school? Where is the limiting principle?

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Under actual law, a politician becomes a candidate for federal office when he declares he is, and when he has raised or spent more than $5,000 on the candidacy. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: One Year Ago Today, May 22, 2014: Hillary Clinton Has Made $5 MILLION in Speaking Fees Since Leaving Office

Hillary-Toast

Mother Jones’s Andy Kroll’s report via NRO‘s Andrew Johnson:PANTSUIT-REPORT

Hillary Clinton has raked in nearly $5 million for her various appearances and speeches since leaving the State Department in February 2013, even though many of her more than 90 appearances have been unpaid. Her usual speaking fee is approximately $200,000 per appearance.

hillary-dot-screen

“This is a great way for a company to get access to her, to hear what she’s thinking, to be remembered if and when she does run for office, and to help her grow that nice little nest egg that she and her husband have been intent on building.”

— Campaign Legal Center policy director Meredith McGehee told Mother Jones

Read the rest of this entry »


Hillary Clinton Has Made $5 Milllion in Speaking Fees Since Leaving Office

hillary-clinton-hollywood-money

Mother Jones’s Andy Kroll’s report via NRO‘s Andrew Johnson:

Hillary Clinton has raked in nearly $5 million for her various appearances and speeches since leaving the State Department in February 2013, even though many of her more than 90 appearances have been unpaid. Her usual speaking fee is approximately $200,000 per appearance.

“This is a great way for a company to get access to her, to hear what she’s thinking, to be remembered if and when she does run for office, and to help her grow that nice little nest egg that she and her husband have been intent on building.”

— Campaign Legal Center policy director Meredith McGehee told Mother Jones

Read the rest of this entry »