David Bossie: Nancy Pelosi takes the gavel in the House and what's her first target? Free speech
On Thursday, the 116th Congress began and San Francisco’s Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives once again. Hopefully, she won’t revert to her old tricks by passing bills so the rest of us can find out what’s in them.
As the president of Citizens United, I know that every two years around this time the left ramps up its wrongheaded quest to gut the First Amendment and attack the landmark “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision that protects robust free speech rights for all of the American people. And this year is no exception, as House Democrats prepare to unveil H.R. 1 today.
A recent column in The New York Times entitled “After Citizens United, a Vicious Cycle of Corruption,” opens by stating, “In the eight years since it was decided, Citizens United has unleashed a wave of campaign spending that by any reasonable standard is extraordinarily corrupt.” An intriguing opening perhaps, but the entire opinion piece contains no evidence of corruption whatsoever. Liberals just can’t come to grips with the fact that spending a lot of money to participate in the political process doesn’t equal corruption.
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The last time there was a real campaign finance scandal was during the 1996 election cycle when it was discovered that China funneled illegal contributions into our political system to help Bill Clinton and the Democrats’ re-election efforts. That investigation resulted in more than 25 individuals being charged with crimes by the Department of Justice. In the wake of that investigation, President George W. Bush signed the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act into law, which was largely overturned by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision.
Fast forward to today and the left’s effort to restrict free speech in America is still front and center. But now, the liberals are forced to scream at the top of their lungs about fake corruption in our campaign finance system because little, if any, actually exists.
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Instead of jobs, health care or border security, the incoming Democrat majority in the House is making a so-called “reform” package their first legislative priority in the new Congress. The bill consists of speech-stifling regulations under the guise of campaign finance reform, voting reform that puts “automatic” voter registration ahead of election integrity, and the overtly political action of income tax return disclosure that applies to the president but not Congress. It should be noted that this effort has a zero percent chance of passing the Senate, much less being signed into law.
The Democrat campaign finance plan dusts off their decades-old dream for the public financing of political campaigns. This excessive spending could go a long way toward paying for a border wall and enhanced border security. Curiously, this bill appears not to directly address the large amounts of money being raised and spent by Super PACs that liberals complain about ad nauseam. Maybe that’s because Democrats employ Super PACs to get their message out just as much as Republicans. According to a recent column in the Los Angeles Times, “Among the top 25 super PACs in 2018 spending, through Dec. 3, contributions supporting Republicans and conservatives came to $341 million; contributions on the Democratic and liberal side totaled about $282 million.”
Additionally, only a hypocrite like Hillary Clinton - in collusion with her allies in the liberal media - could get away with making overturning the Citizens United decision her number one legislative priority in 2016 while spending nearly twice as much as Donald Trump. Liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds, but it only gets you so far. If the Democrats truly wanted to get rid of Super PACs they could make them obsolete by getting behind measures like Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mark Meadows’ bill, the “Super PAC Elimination Act.”
The Democrat reform package includes an election reform section to fix something that isn’t the problem. The bill argues we need to make it easier to vote, despite just witnessing record turnout in the 2018 midterm elections. According to CBS News, “An estimated 113 million people participated in the 2018 midterm elections, making this the first midterm in history to exceed over 100 million votes.” Furthermore, early reports are predicting more record turnout in 2020 with encouraging headlines such as, “Expect Record Turnout in 2020.” This begs the question; shouldn’t the priority be ballot integrity, to ensure that only those persons eligible to vote actually get to vote?
Another section of the Democrat reform bill covers ethics reform. Laughably, the political bill would require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns while making no such requirement for congressional candidates. Also absent from the Democrats’ ethics reform platform is any mention of congressional term limits. Let’s be honest, if the Democrats really were interested in draining the swamp, wouldn’t they agree with President Trump and the 80 percent of Americans who support term limits for Congress?
Here’s the bottom line. The incoming Pelosi-led House of Representatives should listen to the American people and prioritize issues that voters care most about and actually have a chance of becoming law. Two years will fly by and only time will tell how badly House Democrats squander their time in the majority.