Dems United Against Citizens United Ruling, Want New Restrictions on Free Speech
If you can force yourself to remember President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, you might recall his shout-out against the then-new Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which struck down a raft of dubious infringements on specifically political speech. Specifically, the case involved a small nonprofit whose documentary about Hillary Clinton was censored by the federal government. Read Reason's archive on Citizens United here.
The decision said that independent political expenditures by for-profit and non-profit corporations were OK prior to, well, elections (which, when you think about it, is exactly when you might be interested in more information about candidates and issues). Folks such as MSNBC male hysteric Keith Olbermann called the ruling "our Dred Scott" and predicted that companies such as Exxon/Mobil would now flood the airwaves with "electioneering communications" designed to bamboozle us stupid voters.
Now the Dems are back with new legislation designed to plug the free speech gaps they fear Citizens United opened up. The details of the proposal are online via Politico. And all you need to know that the law is a bad one is its title and acronym: "The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act" or, The DISCLOSE ACT.
Read the fine print then check out Reason.tv's 3 Reasons Not To Sweat The Citizen's United Ruling:
And for Citizens United completists, check out my appearance on Bill Moyers Journal discussing the ruling with Harvard's Larry Lessig.