Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gingrich: "A victory over the political machine"

In January, the Supreme Court, ruling 5-to-4, finally struck a blow for political free speech in easing up restrictions, many of which were laid out in the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. The case that was brought before the case involved Citizens United, David Bossie's production company, and their documentary "Hillary: the Movie."

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled that the movie, which went after much of Hillary Clinton's past history and policy views, "couldn't be aired or even advertised," wrote Newt in a January newsletter. "Their reason? Sen. Clinton was a candidate for federal office, so Bossie's film was illegal under campaign finance law."

Citizens United sued, saying the First Amendment did not allow the government to deny speech in such a way. The Supreme Court agreed. Says Gingrich:

And the Supreme Court decision announced last week was not only a vindication of the free speech rights of all Americans, it was a significant step toward dismantling the incumbent-protecting political machine created by bureaucratic campaign finance "reforms" like McCain-Feingold.

By declaring that government has no business suppressing the political speech of groups like Citizens United, the Supreme Court has begun to make it easier for middle class candidates to take on the rich and the powerful....

The Founders understood the importance of the unfettered right of citizens to complain about their government. They recognized the danger of politicians controlling or censoring the debate about themselves. That's why they wrote in the First Amendment to the Constitution that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.

These words and this right have been stunningly perverted by laws like McCain-Feingold, which was explicitly a case of Congress making a law abridging our freedom of speech -- incumbent politicians attempting to censor the people's discussion of whether they should remain in office.

Associatioins of citizens -- such as corporations and unions -- are not subject to government bureaucrats' rulings any longer as to arbitrary limits. Included in that was an overruling of a provision of McCain-Feingold that said corporate-funded ads could not be aired sixty days before federal elections and thirty days before primaries.

"Citizens United v. FEC doesn't threaten our democracy. It strengthens it by making it easier for middle-class candidates to compete against the wealthy and incumbents," writes Newt.

Newt's solution:
Real reform under our Constitution will only come when Americans and associations of Americans are allowed to give unlimited amounts of after-tax money to the candidates and campaigns of their choice. Dnors should be given this freedom and required to post on the Internet every night what they're spending and how they're spending. That way, voters would know who is funding whom, and how much. Armed with that knowledge, Americans can be trusted to make an informed, truly democratic choice. Predictably, just the prospect of voters making such a free and informed choice has the Washington establishment machine up in arms.

Countering President Obama's attack on the Court -- in which he said "The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington -- Newt wrote, "This, from the president who negotiated back-room deals with special interests in order to force Democratic health care reform on the American people. This, from a president whose massive expansion of government into the private sector has set off a stampede of lobbyists to Washington to claim their piece of the taxpayers' pie."

"But even more glaring than the hypocrisy is the obvious contempt that supporters of bureaucratic campaign finance have for the American people."

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