Regulating Political Speech – In the Name of the First Amendment

Michael Schaus
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Posted: Jun 25, 2013 12:01 AM

One of the greatest threats of a growing government is the opportunity for abuse, corruption and general disregard for individual liberty. And while the IRS is reeling from their own experiment in Big-Brother-meets-Jimmy-Hoffa style of governance, the New York State Attorney General is anxious to follow suit. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already made a career of targeting political opponents while giving out “get-out-of-jail-free” cards to political allies; and now he has declared that his office will now have the powers to crack down on political speech.

According to Politico,  State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has “moved to force all nonprofits — also called 501(c)4s — participating in politics in New York to disclose their donors — just like PACs, super PACs and candidates for office.” It kinda makes you wonder. . . Doesn’t the NSA, IRS, or DOJ already have this information?

The move is another piece of an awfully repetitive pattern of government attempting to monitor political speech. I guess that whole “freedom of speech” amendment didn’t explicitly state that intense scrutiny of said speech was prohibited. The initiative by Schneiderman is one of the first in the nation. Congratulations New York, you are now the first in the nation to make the IRS’s unstated job of harassing political organizations just a little easier.

According to the directive, groups that are organized as 501(c)4s will have to report all monies dedicated to electioneering as well as a list of all their contributors. According to the AG the only reason for a 501(c)4 organization is to keep big money undisclosed in politics. (Anyone else curious how much undisclosed money has been used to prop him and his political allies up?) The AG office will have oversight of virtually all political speech in the state. A power that is discomforting in the age of Orwellian government abuse on all levels.

Regardless of Schneiderman’s intentions, a system that lends itself to political insiders, intimidation and corruption will be the end result. (We’ll just gloss over the fact that this would be more of an exacerbation of NY style corruption.) In an age where IRS directors are testifying before congress for misusing their powers to regulate non-profits, and the DOJ is defending itself against accusations of political targeting, you would think less government “oversight” would be welcomed.

Even more disturbing is the AG’s similarity to the host of characters involved in the aforementioned national scandals. Highlighting his paper-thin (aka: non-existent; aka: Obama-style) resume is a history of targeting financial institutions for supposed culpability in the financial meltdown of 2008. Schneiderman was appointed by Obama to head a task force aimed at sniffing out mortgage fraud. . . Coincidently, this occurred after he turned a blind eye to the MF Global scandal involving the major Obama fundraiser and fellow Democrat, John Corzine. He has also crusaded against Jamie Dimon, and Hank Greenberg - Two vocal critics of Mr. Obama.

Political speech should be the most prized freedom in our nation. Increasingly, however, states and federal entities are experimenting with ways to restrict, regulate and monitor such activity. Under the guise of “leveling the playing field” politicians have implemented “reforms” that limit citizen’s ability to contribute to causes. In the name of “fairness” and “transparency” liberal elites have demanded an end to privacy for anyone who dares engage in the political process.

With such expansive efforts to place bureaucratic burdens on political activism, how long until we hear about political groups being targeted and harassed by a regulatory agency that is charged with monitoring political non-profits. . . Oh, wait. . .  

But that’s okay. . . This time will be different. Right?