Category Archives: 2010 Midterm Elections

Citizens United Case with the FEC

In the continuing debate about just how much speech can be restricted in the name of campaign finance reform, the FEC has just given Citizens United a victory, in this case allowing it a press exemption for some of its media productions.

It seems odd that so many argue that restricting the money, or its sources, which makes dissemination of speech possible is somehow not restricting free speech.

Elgin Husbheck, Jr. commented on the logical problems with campaign finance reform in Preserving Democracy (p. 112 & xxx) of the forthcoming paperback edition:

In this discussion I have focused on religion, but pretty much the same thing has happened in many other areas. For example the Free Speech clause was originally intended to protect political speech. Not only has it been greatly extended to include things like child pornography, but now this has been turned on its head to the point that political speech is about the only speech the government can control and limit. (p. 112)

But rather than abandon this approach as a failure, the push in the late 1990s was to even further expand campaign finance reform laws with a new bill sponsored by Senators McCain and Feingold.  Proving that the failure of planning and control only produces more planning and control, not only did the McCain-Feingold bill impose a whole new layer of controls, it took the unprecedented step of attempting to limit political speech 90 days prior to an election. Even many politicians who voted for the bill believed that such a limit on free speech was clearly unconstitutional, and they expected the Supreme Court to toss out those limits.

In late 2003, however, the court surprised a lot of people and upheld McCain-Feingold, including the limits on political speech 90 days before an election.172 While there was a lot of celebrating among supporters of the bill, it did not last long. (p. 166)

At least at the moment we are backing away from the worst aspects of this “reform” but there are those who are not happy with this new freedom of speech.

Links

Blogs:

Cato@Liberty (deals with the earlier court case and congressional attempts to override, not the current FEC decision)

SCOTUSBLOG

Election Law Blog

Mother Jones (discusses the way unions are exploiting the ruling and congress is looking at making different rules for unions than for corporations.)

Ann Althouse

(Note:  We look for a variety of sources but do not claim to cover all sides of the issue.  We do not necessarily endorse the comments of any particular blogger.)

Sharron Angle Wins Nevada Republican Primary with Tea Party Backing

Sharron Angle’s victory in the Nevada Republican primary for U. S. Senate has many in the traditional party structures a bit disturbed.   Senator John Cornyn says he won’t be discussing policy with her, just mechanics and many hope she can just keep from discussing her more extreme political positions (source).

From Preserving Democracy, page 273:

While often portrayed by critics as artificial and “Astroturf ” or vilely disparaged with sexual references, tea parties are in fact a loose connection of people coming together to express a general frustration with government. Most of this frustration centers around TARP, the stimulus bill, and the calls for even more spending and a further expansion of Government. While a few are trying to catch up so that they can claim leadership of the movement, there really is no leader and the movement is truly grass roots.

Elgin Hushbeck, Jr., author of Preserving Democracy, noted in response to this election:

The win by Sharron Angle once again shows that the anger of the voting public that is most visible in the tea party movement is not simply an anti-Obama or even anti-Democrat anger.  People are tired of the non-responsive establishment on both sides who talk one way when campaigning and then act another once in office.  As the party out of power, this sentiment most benefits Republicans at the moment. Still it is not by any means pro-Republican, a lesson Republicans should learn well, if they wish to hold on to the seats they will likely win this year.

Links:

Candidate Sites

Sharron Angle for Senate

Harry Reid for Senate

News Stories:

Tea Party Candidates, Women Roar in Primary Night (Fox News)

Sharron Angle: Nevada Senate frontrunner? (Washington Post)

Blogs:

Note: Though we only use the blog name, each link is to a specific post on this issue from that particular blog.

Huffington Post

HotAirPundit

The Joshua Blogs

Marathon Pundit

Bluegrass Pundit