It is one of the most selfish and cynical moves of all time. The Capital Times and its allies on the Hard Left are using their First Amendment rights to deny free speech rights to those with whom they disagree.
They would be the first to speed dial the ACLU attorney if the FBI so much as knocked on the front door of Capital Newspapers Incorporated. But the Capital Times Co., co-owner of that corporation, wants to amend the Bill of Rights -- which has never been amended in its 231 years -- to deny citizens who join corporations (but not unions) the right of free speech.
The Capital Times wants to eviscerate the First Amendment to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Dane County Democrat(ic) party has signed on. The Fighting BobFesters conducted a seminar on the "Move to Amend" initiative.
Their amendment would declare that:
- Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and
- Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.
I have pointed out previously that the Citizens United decision does not -- repeat, not -- hinge on the "corporations as persons" theory. Justice Antony Scalia, in his majority concurrence, wrote:
The dissent says that when the Framers "constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind." That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women-not, for example, of trees or polar bears. But the individual person's right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons.
Surely the dissent does not believe that speech by the Republican Party or the Democratic Party can be censored because it is not the speech of "an individual American."
The Amendment is written in terms of "speech," not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals ...
Money IS speech
But let's address the second point, that money is not speech.
Of course it is.
I have debated Ben Manski on Joy Cardin's "Week in Review" program, Friday mornings from 8 to 9 a.m. on the State Radio Network. Ben is running on the Green party ticket for 77th Assembly on the northwest side of Madison, and Middleton.
Ben has thoughtfully included the Stately Manor on his campaign e-mail listserv. On September 10 he touted several fundraisers, including one that featured John Nichols as a guest. He made this pitch:
My general election opponent is sure to be better funded than we are. But we have already raised $11,000! With your help, we can compete. If you can max out by Tuesday, please do so, or come close trying. And please ask all of your friends and family to make a contribution right now.
Ben thoughtfully informs the squire of the Stately Manor that he could max out at $500 before the primary and is eligible to contribute another $500 after the primary. He did not say it but I got the feeling that operators were standing by and that I should have my credit card ready.
What would this money be used for? Speech. Political speech. Yet, Ben supports the "Move to Amend."
Money IS speech.
The dollars that I send to Pro-Life Wisconsin, the check I write to the National Rifle Association, the contribution I (do not) make to the Sierra Club -- for that matter, the subscription fee I pay to Capital Newspapers Inc. -- all go to pay for speech.
Money IS speech.
The printer likes to be paid for his paper, the ad agency cameraman likes to be feed his family, the union lobbyist needs to submit his expense account.
Money IS speech.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority:
All speakers, including individuals and the media, use money amassed from the economic marketplace to fund their speech.
Yet media corporations accumulate wealth with the help of the corporate form, the largest media corporations have "immense aggregations of wealth," and the views expressed by media corporations often "have little or no correlation to the public's support" for those views.
... The fact that a corporation, or any other speaker, is willing to spend money to try to persuade voters presupposes that the people have the ultimate influence over elected officials.
... and why does Mike McCabe want my money?
Mike McCabe, who runs the anti-First Amendment organization Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, reprints his rant at Fighting BobFest wherein he makes the case that "authentic journalism" is in peril. It soon becomes clear that "authentic journalism" is that with which he agrees:
When Helen Thomas is no longer in the front row at White House press briefings and who now gets to be up front is a fake news organization dedicated to partisan propaganda ...
"When Helen Thomas is no longer in the front row ..." The "Jews back to Germany" hatemonger? THAT authentic journalist?
While Mike McCabe and his friends worry about corporate spending influencing elections, let's look at the New York Times corporation. Let's look at the "authentic journalism" on Page One of Sunday's heavily read editions: a hit job on Republican House leader John Boehner:
"While many lawmakers in each party have networks of donors, lobbyists and former aides who now represent corporate interests, Mr. Boehner's ties seem especially deep."
The very same Sunday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs attacked Boehner for the same thing. Co-inky-dink or conspiracy? I report, you decide.
If you read this weekend's New York Times' hit job on would-be Speaker John Boehner and his "lobbyist friends," you might think, as the reporter clearly thinks, that John Boehner is cozier with lobbyists than most powerful politicians are.
But did you know:
Nancy Pelosi has raised almost twice as much money from lobbyists this election as Boehner has?
At least 18 House Democrats have raised more lobbyist cash this election than Boehner has.
Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid have pocketed more lobbyist cash in the past 18 months than Boehner has raised in the past 6 elections, combined?
If money is not speech then why does Mike McCabe want my money?
Your donation to the Democracy Campaign helps make our work for clean government and real democracy in Wisconsin possible. Support from members helps maintain this Web site including the state's only searchable database of contributors to state campaigns and enables us to keep doing all the research, citizen education, community outreach, coalition building and direct advocacy that is proving to be a winning recipe for reform. As a member you will receive our ... newsletter six times a year as well as timely news updates and action alerts.
... All this takes a growing membership and generous supporters. There are three ways to give ...
Not even close
Whew! Scott Walker prevailed over Mark Neumann by a comfortable 59 to 39 percent. I got to think Scott was badly advised that the race had tightened up at the end and that he had to tie Mark Neumann to Nancy Pelosi. That was always going to be a hard sell. There does not appear to be any hard feelings on the Neumann side, thank God.
Like Ronald Reagan, Scott Walker IS the change.
Really sorry to see my friend Brett Davis go down to defeat. Could not understand why he went for lieutenant governor and gave up an Assembly seat when he was building a record for a leadership role in the Legislature.
Speaking of Manski, don't count him out in the 77th Assembly. One thing Brett Hulsey knows how to do is make enemies. If you are surprised at how good-government goo goo Russ Feingold is going negative, wait till you see what Manski does with Hulsey. He'll be put to the ideological purity test and condemned to the gulag.
WKOW has requested the Russ Feingold for Senate campaign pull the ad from airing in Wisconsin.
"They took out all the context, balance and other side of the story," said Perry Boxx, WKOW News Director. "He did it without any permission. It may be legal, but it's just plain wrong."
Feingold co-authored the incumbent protection act (McCain-Feingold) that Citizens United overturned. Strange, that.
Meanwhile, the sainted Spencer Black, greener than a pepper sprout, poured $12,000 into a political action committee (PAC) running attack ads against State Sen. Jeff Plale, a fellow Democrat, from South Milwaukee, according to the Wisconsin Club For Growth. Payback for Plale helping kill the Madison Democrat's pet global warming project, the "Clean Energy Jobs Act." That would be Wisconsin's version of Washington's dead-in-the-water Cap 'n Trade bill. Or, as Jim Sensenbrenner likes to call it, "Tax and Trade."
Plale was defeated in the Tuesday primary in the Democrats' war against DINOs (Democrats in Name Only).
Money IS speech.