To Control Speech is to Control People and Politics

“There exists a special place in ignominy for American politicians who, having been extended the trust of their voters, turn upon a dime and attempt to undermine the protections of the constitutional order that put them in office.  And, within that special place, there exists an even smaller place, reserved for those whose ambitions lead them to pile transgression atop transgression and strike at many roots at once.”   Charles Cooke

Free speech and the robust debate of ideas has been the lynchpin of our Republic for more than two centuries but this will come to a screeching halt if and when the Democrats take over the White House. For instance, in a letter recently sent to Democrats in the House Nancy Pelosi vowed to prioritize passing H.R. 1 on the very first day of the new Congress.

H.R. 1, titled “For the People Act” actually was passed by the Democratic led House in March of last year but was tabled in the Senate. After reading the bill one must ask which people are the Democrats working for?  But, given that the left-wing is always in the habit of limiting influence of anyone other Democrats, the answer seems rather obvious.

“For the People Act” is a very long, complex bill that has provisions pertaining to a wide range of subjects, from voter registration and elections to campaign finance, judicial ethics, and lobbying.  Many of the provisions are clearly unconstitutional; others just redundant and unnecessary, and the rest just bad policy that neither helps voters or election officials in administering a fair and secure voter registration or election process.

The bill requires every state to implement online voting registration and free mail-in voting ballots without protections to verify eligibility. It also allows for same-day registration and voting during the mandated early voting period as well as on election day. It eliminates all state voter ID requirements, requiring only a signature; restricts the state’s ability to remove voters from the rolls for any reason; gives felons full voting rights; and, throws up roadblocks to prevent state audits for double irregularities 

It will forever change the nonpartisan FEC agency into an overtly partisan enforcement tool controlled by a majority of commissions from the political party then in power.  Like other provisions,  this change to the FEC’s structure seemingly has been designed to maximize the chilling effect on groups that wish to express a view about their elected officials and what those officials are doing.

It also requires a host of onerous disclaimer requirements for those engaging in communications that mention a candidate or elected official, even if those communications are related to legislative issues. Given that current law already requires the clear identification of the group or individual responsible for a candidate communication, these new disclaimer requirements only serve to burden the exercise of speech, presumably to discourage it in the first place. 

As a matter of law, it will regulate any speech at any time that “promotes or supports the candidate, or attacks or opposes an opponent of the candidate,” a fuzzy standard that could catch up all manner of non-electoral messages.    It widens the definition of coordination between a group and a candidate to encompass almost any communication.  While it will still be permissible to discuss a candidate’s position on an issue, any talk regarding the candidate’s campaign advertising, message, strategy, policy, polling, allocation  of resources, fundraising or other campaign activities will violate the law.

Even if a group doesn’t coordinate with a candidate under this loose standard, it could still be deemed to have coordinated if it were founded by someone who goes on to become a candidate; relies on the professional services of someone who also did work for a candidate; or is run by someone who had conversations about a campaign with the relative of a candidate.

Source:  For the People Act of 2019, Heritage Foundation;  Will A Free People Allow Their Government To Gag Gun Owners?,  by C.W. Cooke, America’s First Freedom; Don’t Be Deceived, For the People Act Would Federalize Elections by Jordan Harris, Pegasus Institute, Courier Journal

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