5/01 Campaign Finance Reform: Threat To Freedom

Campaign Finance Reform: A Threat to Freedom
Larry Pratt

The McCain-Feingold bill to regulate campaign financing is one of the most dangerous threats to freedom that has ever been before the U.S. Congress.

One wonders what the Congress is thinking when they presume to pass any legislation dealing with speech. The First Amendment is quite clear: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”

What else but an abridgment can we call a limit on how much a candidate can raise from a person or corporation? These limits are purely political, as a study of their history will reveal. Each party comes up with campaign finance restrictions designed to impair the competitive advantage of their opponents. They are not concerned about corruption.

Rather than toss out the current unconstitutional restrictions on campaign finance, McCain-Finegold constitutes a return to the infamous Sedition Act passed during the administration of our second president, John Adams.

Under the Sedition Act, newspaper editors were clapped in jail for criticizing federal officials. The Act was so odious that it led to Adams being a one-term president. The Sedition Act was repealed under Jefferson, and the prisoners were set free.

Under McCain-Feingold, it will once again be illegal to criticize federal officials, namely those incumbent members of Congress and of the presidency who are running for re-election. Specifically, a ban on mentioning their names by groups such as Gun Owners of America will go into effect 60 days before an election.

60 days is chosen for a purpose. It is from there on to the election that most voters begin to look for information about the candidates. McCain-Feingold makes sure that there will only be two sources for that information: incumbents and the media. The media is specifically exempted from the restrictions of McCain-Feingold which are aimed directly at groups such as GOA.

McCain-Feingold is intended to restrict voters’ knowledge of elections to what the media chooses to tell them. And if the incumbents are politically correct, as defined by the media, then the media will describe them as courageous statesmen striving for the good of humanity. If not, the incumbent risks being smeared, or perhaps even worse, ignored.

If you oppose the assault on freedom embodied in so-called “campaign finance reform”, you need to contact your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is where the bill currently is awaiting action.

You had better speak now, or forever hold your peace.