A Sad Day for Freedom
As Andy has pointed out, the MSM doesn't care that our free speech rights disappeared at 12:00:01 AM this morning.
It is now illegal for virtually all nonprofit groups to run any radio or TV ad that merely mentions the name of a congressman. Even a 10 second spot that simply had a congressman's photo and no audio could land you in jail.
And the FEC recently refused to allow even a tiny exception.
Mind you, this is a criminal violation to ignore this law.
Meanwhile groups that support the law and are aligned with McCain flout the law. Again, unreported.
Meanwhile many lawyers still don't understand the law and some even give bad advice to nonprofit clients that it does not apply to them. I heard just this week one horror story on that.
Former FEC Chairman Brad Smith explains the "reform" today and asks:
In exchange for surrendering our First Amendment rights, what have we gained? Do you feel Congress is more ethical than before? Less attuned to special interests? Do you feel more empowered, or less empowered, than you did four years ago, when the law passed? Can you name any tangible benefit from these prohibitions?
The situation in this country with regards to free speech is even worse than appreciated by all you bloggers out there. The fact is the government, state and federal, has enough speech regulation on the books to put 99 out of 100 groups out of business if they want to. The laws are so bad and so vague that the bureaucrats can break nearly any one of you if they want.
Now that's the scary part.
It's not just that we have lost the right to free speech. Even the legal free speech we still have can be punished. As election law lawyers like to say, "the process is the penalty." And there is no recourse.
Posted by David Keating on September 8, 2006 2:01 PM