OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 :::

Allen Defending Free Speech

Via David Keating comes word that George Allen and six of his Senate colleagues intend to filibuster the House version of the "lobbying reform bill" that would slap those nasty, evil 527 organzations around like red-headed step-children:

The targets of the bill’s speech restrictions are nonprofit advocacy groups organized under section 527 of the tax laws. The groups pose no threat of corruption as they are required to disclose all donors, barred from urging voters to support or oppose a candidate, and prohibited from coordinating with political parties or elected officials. Rather than restrict others, we should expand people’s freedom of association and speech to political organizations and committees.

While many rightly criticized the McCain-Feingold bill for banning TV and radio ads within 60 days of an election, what justification is there to prohibiting any communication costing over $1,000 that mentions a congressman’s name in any medium, 365 days a year, if done through one of these independent citizens’ groups?

Some say this bill is needed to stop the wealthy from funding propaganda, but the bill appropriately places no limits on the wealthy to fund speech on their own. Instead, it foolishly restricts the ability of hundreds of thousands of citizens to join together to speak out about the nation’s future.

Republicans do not need, and should not attempt, to muzzle their opponents. The increase in free speech over the last two decades made possible by the growth of talk radio, cable TV and the Internet has benefited our Party, which allowed us to promote individual freedom and opportunity that has led to unprecedented prosperity for our nation.

Well said. Of course, there will be those who say Allen and the others are only doing this to further their own electoral purposes. Well of course they are. But there is also something far more important at stake here: the right of people to have their voices heard.

And is is heartening to see that at least a few in the Senate are unwilling to sacrifice freedom of speech in their pursuit of "clean government."

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 6/13/2006 2 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

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