Monday, October 02, 2006

Charlie Sykes: Watch Your Back

George Will reminds us that the 1st Amendment remains under attack.

(Even worse than McPain-Feinie? Yup.)

As the comprehensive and sustained attack on Americans' freedom of political speech intensifies, this city has become a battleground. Campaign-finance "reformers," who advocate ever-increasing government regulation of the quantity, timing and content of political speech, always argue that they want to regulate "only" money, which, they say, leaves speech unaffected. But here they argue that political speech is money, and hence must be regulated. By demanding that the speech of two talk-radio hosts be monetized and strictly limited, reformers reveal the next stage in their stealthy repeal of the First Amendment.

...[Eventually] a judge to rule that the broadcasters were not just supporters of the repeal campaign, they were agents of it. Why, they had even used the pronoun "we" when referring to proponents of repeal. Their speech constituted political advertising, and their employer was making an "in-kind contribution" to the repeal campaign. The judge said a monetary value must be placed on their speech (he did not say how, he just said to do it that day). The law says reports must be filed and speech limits obeyed or fines imposed

...What has happened in Seattle prefigures what a national Democratic administration might try to do—perhaps also by reviving the "fairness doctrine" (an "equal time" regulation)—to strangle conservative talk radio. And what has happened here—the use of campaign regulations as weapons of partisanship—is spreading. [No kidding, George. Does the SEB ring a bell?]

It gets worse. Much worse:

A few people opposed to a ballot initiative that would annex their neighborhood to Parker, Colo., talked to neighbors and purchased lawn signs expressing opposition. So a proponent of annexation got them served with a complaint charging violations of Colorado's campaign-finance law....

In Florida, a businesswoman ceased publication of her small-town newspaper rather than bear compliance costs imposed by that state's speech police...

McCain/Feinie was the linchpin for this crap, says Will. Expect more.

HT: Overlawyered

1 comment:

Amy said...

What this tells me is that, if the Democrats can't win by honest campaigning, they will change the law and bully people into either agreeing with their positions or by shutting down the opposition - making a true campaign nearly impossible to run.

I loved the First Amendment. Too bad it's being usurped and undermined.