18 Comments

  1. David Weller
    May 12, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    I happen to be an independent now, but I have seen multiple times in the past, of third party candidates for public office getting a phone call from a “forum organizer” (e.g. local major party operative) that the time and date of the event has changed. So, the candidate changes her calendar, goes to the phantom event and finds it was a lie! Who said all was fair in war?

    Reply

  2. Mike Stern
    May 13, 2010 @ 6:02 am

    Craig- for those of us who are not experts in this area, it would be helpful to have an analysis from someone who is truly objective– ie, is neither supporting nor opposing this particular legislation or similar attempts to regulate campaign finance. Is there such a person?

    In my understanding, CU struck down attempts to prohibit certain types of political speech by corporations and unions. It did, however, indicate that disclosure requirements were permissible. I take it that the DISCLOSE Act is attempting to establish disclosure requirements for some, but not all, political speech. I also infer from your post that the determination of which speech is covered depends, to some extent, on the FEC’s regulations.

    So the questions that occur to me are (1) what are the disclosure requirements, (2) do the disclosure requirements place a substantial burden on the exercise of constitutionally permitted speech (and, relatedly, are they intended to burden/discourage that speech), (3) what is the constitutional theory under which Congress is enacting these requirements and does it apply to all, or only certain, types of speech (eg, would it allow, regardless of whether the legislation purports to do, imposition of these disclosure requirements on bloggers) and (4) what are the policy/constitutional justifications for Congress’s decision to (a) define the universe of speech subject to the disclosure requirements in the way that it did and (b) leave the scope of that definition up to the FEC (if in fact that it did).

    Reply

  3. CS
    May 13, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    A few years ago there was a consumer protection bill in AZ that would’ve imposed more accountability on homebuilders. The bill was to be on the ballot, up to voters. An industry group put out flyers telling owners of existing homes that if the bill passed, they as homeowners would be responsible for builders’ defects in their houses after they sold. In truth, the bill did nothing to put homeowners at increased risk on resales, nor did it change existing real estate disclosure laws on resales. Nevertheless, the lie worked. Voters voted against their own best interests by defeating the bill.

    Around the same time give or take a year, voters in CO had the chance to vote for strengthening consumer protection on new homes. The industry there set up a robo call system to tell Coloradans that the bill would raise their taxes, a blatant lie. The lobbyist who orchestrated it for the builders was at worst embarrassed that he got caught, but he was not banned from lobbying, is lobbying still, and the legislature bought the builders’ argument that basically lying is protected free speech.

    However, ask the industry what they think of legitimate consumer complaining and they don’t seem to think that is protected free speech.

    At least in the CO incident the bill was voted in if I recall right. The consumers there were appalled by the industry’s lying, even if the legislature found it entirely acceptable.

    I’d really like to see LYING outlawed in all political ads. It’d sure be a lot quieter around here.

    Reply

  4. Imperfectly
    May 14, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main federal agency that enforces advertising laws and regulations. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:

    Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive; Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
    Advertisements cannot be unfair.

    Don’t these laws apply to political advertising?

    Reply

  5. Mary Ellen Pearson
    May 15, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    There is a dire need for checks and balances of “We The People” on public speech allowances, publishment allowances. This is against the Ammendments of the United States. We need an immediate Supreme Court investigation, proven results of that investigation and a vote of “WE THE PEOPLE”. As well, we need to know where our politicians stand on this dire need!

    Reply

  6. Poppy Finston
    May 15, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

    thank you for keeping us informed. It is really scary how easily people can be manipulated by those who work against the public interest.
    I was told that in order to put the necessary equipment in the ocean to drill for oil that the government has regulations to be observed. How could BP get around the inspections that caused such a horrific disaster in the gulf?

    Poppy Finston

    Reply

  7. akw
    May 19, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    “Whatever one thinks of Sarah Palin should not distract from this truth: President Obama proposes to let government bureaucrats decide who gets medical care and who does not.”

    http://www.freep.com/article/20090819/OPINION05/90819047/1068/opinion/The-truth-about-death-panels

    Sorry Folks, Sarah Palin Is (Partly) Right

    by Michael F. Cannon

    Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and co-author of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

    August 19, 2009

    The intelligentsia have been quick to dismiss former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s claim that, under President Obama’s health plan, “my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide … whether they are worthy of health care.”

    No one ever accused Palin of being a health policy expert, and many found her hyperbolic term “death panel” off-putting. But that should not distract voters from this reality: President Obama has proposed a new body that would enhance Medicare’s ability to deny care to the elderly and disabled based on government bureaucrats’ arbitrary valuations of those patients’ lives.

    It is right there in the legislation now before Congress, and it is called the Independent Medicare Advisory Council.

    Medicare already has the statutory authority to reduce the amount it will spend on elderly and disabled patients, but largely cannot exercise that authority. Federal law says that Medicare may deny coverage for services that are not “reasonable and necessary,” but gives no guidance on what “reasonable” and “necessary” mean. That effectively leaves the issue in the hands of the bureaucrats at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

    “In theory,” writes Tufts Medical Center’s Peter Neumann and colleagues, “the CMS could interpret Medicare’s statutory authority to cover ‘reasonable and necessary’ services as a license to use cost-effectiveness analysis,” i.e., to deny care. “To date,” however, “this course has proved to be impossible.”

    Why? Political resistance from the medical industry (which prefers that Medicare pay for everything) and the Sarah Palins (who don’t trust bureaucrats to make those decisions) prevent Medicare from using cost-effectiveness criteria. Former CMS chief Mark McClellan notes that a mixed record of judicial interpretations and some specific congressional actions, for example on broad coverage of cancer treatments, have tied Medicare’s hands somewhat. But he agrees: “I do think that political pressures have limited the agency’s ability to go further.”

    Enter the Obama administration, which submitted to Congress legislative language that would create IMAC and give it broad authority to recommend “reforms to the Medicare program.” In effect, IMAC would enable Medicare to overcome the political resistance to government rationing.

    Some facets of Medicare would be beyond the reach of IMAC’s unelected bureaucrats — but not Medicare’s interpretation of “reasonable and necessary.” The stimulus bill and the House reform plan deny federal agencies conducting comparative-effectiveness research the power to “mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies for any public or private payer.” Obama places no such restrictions on IMAC.

    Unless Congress rejects IMAC’s recommendations within 30 days, they would become law. The administration would have license to implement them “notwithstanding any provisions of this Act or any other provisions governing the Medicare program.”

    Palin was wrong about a separate proposal to have Medicare cover advance care planning. Paying doctors to help seniors sort out their preferences for end-of-life care is consumer-directed rationing, not bureaucratic rationing.

    Yet that error hardly excuses the media’s mishandling of Palin’s “death panel” claim, particularly since Obama himself corroborates it. Obama’s first pick to head his health reform efforts — former Senate Majority Tom Daschle — proposed an IMAC-like panel despite the fact that “doctors and patients might resent” the panel making decisions about “matters of life and death.” Back in June, in response to a question about “subjective” end-of-life decisions, President Obama said, “I think we have to have rules.” And who would make those rules? His IMAC proposal tells us.

    Lest you think this too Orwellian to become reality, consider that this type of government rationing already happens in the United Kingdom. Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (or “NICE”) generally refuses to cover medical treatments that cost more than $35,000 per year of life saved.

    Whatever one thinks of Sarah Palin should not distract from this truth: President Obama proposes to let government bureaucrats decide who gets medical care and who does not.

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10467

    Reply

  8. Deficit Reduction » Blog Archive » The DISCLOSE Act and Blogs
    May 20, 2010 @ 1:56 am

    […] Craig Holman at Public Citizen, on the other hand, says the bill “leaves in place the carefully worked out provisions of FEC regulations that exclude blogging and similar internet activity from the definitions of ‘expenditure’ and ‘public communication’ under campaign finance laws. The additional reporting requirements of the DISCLOSE Act do not change the existing exemptions for Internet communications and blogging under federal campaign finance law at all.” […]

    Reply

  9. Limiting Free Speech – Trust Us – More About Who Can Be Natural Born Citizen – Mario Apuzzo – Lt. Col. Lakin – Good UCMJ Site – Military Coup? – TPM – The BOPAC Report « “The BOPAC Report”
    May 20, 2010 @ 3:49 am

    […] of actually discussing how Reason got the argument wrong in its initial reporting on the subject, a Public Citizen lobbyist (which supports the legislation) called it a death-panel argument.  Another group […]

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  10. Congress about to limit political speech of bloggers? « Thoughts Of A Conservative Christian
    May 20, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    […] of actually discussing how Reason got the argument wrong in its initial reporting on the subject, a Public Citizen lobbyist (which supports the legislation) called it a death-panel argument.  Another group […]

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  11. HOT AIR: CONGRESS MAY LIMIT BLOGGER SPEECH | Minnesota Democrats Exposed
    May 20, 2010 @ 9:21 am

    […] of actually discussing how Reason got the argument wrong in its initial reporting on the subject, a Public Citizen lobbyist (which supports the legislation) called it a death-panel argument.  Another group […]

    Reply

  12. The DISCLOSE Act and Blogs « Deficit Reduction
    May 23, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    […] Craig Holman at Public Citizen, on the other hand, says the bill “leaves in place the carefully worked out provisions of FEC regulations that exclude blogging and similar internet activity from the definitions of ‘expenditure’ and ‘public communication’ under campaign finance laws. The additional reporting requirements of the DISCLOSE Act do not change the existing exemptions for Internet communications and blogging under federal campaign finance law at all.” […]

    Reply

  13. Ross Wolf
    June 10, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    Re: Stopping HR 5175 Disclosure Act

    Could Obama Be America’s First Defacto President?

    Innocent Americans increasingly are sent to prison based on false evidence manufactured by police forensic crime labs. Now President Obama wants the power to incarcerate U.S. Citizens not on evidence, but for what they might do.

    Compare: Two days after the 1933 burning of Germany’s Parliament Building, blamed on communists, Hitler responded with a powerful speech before Parliament. Hitler asked Parliament to suspend sections of the Reich Constitution that protected Citizens’ Rights and Civil Liberties. Hitler said the suspension was necessary so government could protect the homeland from being destroyed by communists. Hitler promised Parliament the Constitution would later be restored. After Parliament passed Hitler’s Discriminatory Decrees and Hitler signed it February 28, 1933, Hitler immediately used the news laws to abolished Parliament. See Hitler’s 1933 Discriminatory Laws below:

    Obama gave a speech in May 2010, that proposed incarcerating in indefinite prolonged detention without evidence, any person government deemed a “combatant” or likely to engage in a violent act in the future; that would include U.S. Citizens “without evidence of wrongdoing.” With that amount power Obama like Hitler could arrest members of Congress, drag U.S. Citizens off the street and from their homes to be imprisoned indefinitely based only on Government’s claim they are a “combatant” or likely to engage in a violent act in the future.

    If Congress approves Obama’s categories of people likely to engage in violent acts, overnight millions of lawful U.S. activists could be subject to arrest, Indefinite Prolonged Detention. When you examine Obama’s speech, it appears Obama wants retroactive power to incarcerate anyone government claims (prior) supported violent acts on the premise that person is likely to support violent acts in the future: U.S. activists would be extremely vulnerable because no activist can control what another activist or group might do illegally they network with domestically or overseas. Government would only have to allege a person; group or organization might commit a violent act in the future to order Preventative Detention of lawful participants with no evidence whatsoever. Americans would be afraid to speak out.

    It is foreseeable any “individual” who writes on the Internet or verbally express an opinion against or entity of U.S. Government or its coalition partners could be deemed by authorities a “Combatant” or likely to engage in or cause violent acts: government too easily could claim an author’s writings inspired people in the past and will in the future to commit or support violent acts. It is problematic that indefinitely detained U.S. Citizens not involved in terrorism or hostile activities, not given Miranda Warnings or allowed legal counsel; interrogated, will be prosecuted for ordinary crimes because of their alleged admissions while held in indefinite “Prolonged Detention. Obama wants the power to override the U.S. Constitution. Obama wants the power to detain indefinitely any American without probable cause or evidence, based on conjecture someone might do something violent in the future.

    Obama similar to Hitler is centralizing power in the federal Government by getting passed legislation the U.S. government could potentially use to intimidate and threaten corporations among others. Hitler got passed similar laws shortly before the burning of the German Parliament building blamed on the communists. Immediately after the fire, Hitler used his new laws to coerce corporations and influential Citizens to support passage of fascist legislation that suspended provisions of the German Constitution that protected Citizens’ freedoms and civil liberties. Obama is now approaching a position where he can use similar new laws, including the Patriot Act and 200 asset forfeiture laws to seize any corporation or individual’s assets; and force U.S. corporations and other institutions like Hitler did to support legislation that threatens or curtails rights of Americans.

    More recently Obama has moved forward to crush Free Speech, silence his critics by pushing passage of HR 5175: this abomination will choke the 1st Amendment, denying the right of free speech to ordinary Americans. Under Title II: groups like Gun Owners of America and other groups including bloggers that only mention “public officials” within 60 days of an election, could be required to file onerous disclosures–and potentially have to disclose their membership lists—despite the Supreme Court ruling in NAACP v. Alabama that held membership lists like those of GOA’s) are off limits to government control. Is Obama’s support of HR 5175 similar to what Hitler did to shut up his critics? In the run up to Parliament passing his police state laws including the 1933 Discriminatory Decrees that abolished Citizen’s Free Speech, Hitler employed thugs to beat up reporters, arrest anyone who had courage to criticize the Fuhrer or his Nazi government or expose introduced legislation. Is Obama by supporting HR 5175 to shut up his critics, trying to American to the same place?

    Alarmingly the Obama Government recently employed a vendor to search Internet social networking sites to collect about information about Americans that could potentially be used by this government to injure Americans, for example, if you apply for a federal job, your name might be crossed referenced by the Obama Government with comments you made at Websites against Obama; or if you make application at a bank for a loan the Government has control since the financial crisis, could your Internet comment(s) prevent you getting that loan? Obama’s monitoring of the Internet sites can too easily be used by Government to intimidate Citizens from speaking out. Obama Top CZAR Cass Sunstein prepared a 2008 paper that proposed spying on Americans, infiltrating groups and organizations to obstruct Free Speech, disrupt the exchange of ideas and disseminate false information to neutralize Americans that might question government.
    See: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=121884

    See Hitler’s 1933 Nazi Laws below:

    DECREE OF THE REICH PRESIDENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE AND STATE

    Note: Based on translations by State Department, National Socialism, 1942 PP. 215-17, and Pollak, J.K., and Heneman, H.J., The Hitler Decrees, (1934), pp. 10-11.7

    In virtue of Section 48 (2) of the German Constitution, the following is decreed as a defensive measure against Communist acts of Violence, endangering the state:

    Section 1
    Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. Thus, restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press, on the right of assembly and the right of association, and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and warrants for house-searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

    Section 2
    If in a state the measures necessary for the restoration of public security and order are not taken, the Reich Government may temporarily take over the powers of the highest state authority.

    Section 4
    Whoever provokes, or appeals for or incites to the disobedience of the orders given out by the supreme state authorities or the authorities subject to then for the execution of this decree, or the orders given by the Reich Government according to Section 2, is punishable—insofar as the deed, is not covered by the decree with more severe punishment and with imprisonment of not less that one month, or with a fine from 150 up to 15,000 Reichsmarks.

    Whoever endangers human life by violating Section 1, is to be punished by sentence to a penitentiary, under mitigating circumstances with imprisonment of not less than six months and, when violation causes the death of a person, with death, under mitigating circumstances with a penitentiary sentence of not less that two years. In addition the sentence my include confiscation of property.

    Whoever provokes an inciter to or act contrary to public welfare is to be punished with a penitentiary sentence, under mitigating circumstances, with imprisonment of not less than three months.

    Section 5
    The crimes which under the Criminal Code are punishable with penitentiary for life are to be punished with death: i.e., in Sections 81 (high treason), 229 (poisoning), 306 (arson), 311 (explosion), 312 (floods), 315, paragraph 2 (damage to railroad properties, 324 (general poisoning).

    Insofar as a more severe punishment has not been previously provided for, the following are punishable with death or with life imprisonment or with imprisonment not to exceed 15 years:

    1. Anyone who undertakes to kill the Reich President or a member or a commissioner of the Reich Government or of a state government, or provokes to such a killing, or agrees to commit it, or accepts such an offer, or conspires with another for such a murder;

    2. Anyone who under Section 115 (2) of the Criminal Code (serious rioting) or of Section 125 (2) of the Criminal Code (serious disturbance of the peace) commits the act with arms or cooperates consciously and intentionally with an armed person;

    3. Anyone who commits a kidnapping under Section 239 of the Criminal with the intention of making use of the kidnapped person as a hostage in the political struggle.

    Section 6
    This decree enters in force on the day of its promulgation.

    Reich President
    Reich Chancellor
    Reich Minister of the Interior
    Reich Minister of Justice

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  14. Ross Wolf
    June 23, 2010 @ 4:17 am

    Disclose Act Will Choke First Amendment.

    The Neomarxist behind the Obama/FTC intend to drown out the voice of America with Obama/Marxist propaganda, enforcing new regulations that will cripple bloggers and other alternative media from disseminating information, free speech that grass-roots among other organizations depend on to make informed decisions. Obama’s support of the DISCLOSE Act confirmed what many Americans already believed; that Obama and certain Democrats in Congress intend to strangle the flow of information. If Obama and his leftists associations get their way, our Children will be brainwashed by Obama’s one-sided propaganda at school, through Obama controlled Radio, TV and Obama media policies that restrict the free flow of information. Historically when communists attempted or took over a country, one of their first steps was to control the media and all forms of public communications to control Civilian populations. When Russia took over Hungary, it immediately took control of the Radio stations to thwart Citizen resistance and to psychologically control the People. Considering the Obama administration’s obsession with controlling all media, one might ask, are some of the same persons inside and outside U.S. Government working with the Obama administration to push the Disclose Act and other censorship regulations, involved in causes that promulgate overthrow of the United States? While some in the Obama Government say they support dismantling capitalism, brick by brick, does their endgame call for destruction of the United States? If it does, what should Americans do to stop it? Does the Obama administration’s proposed censorship of free speech e.g., the Disclose Act threaten National Security? In other countries where members of political parties and ideological extremists attempted or succeeded in this kind of forced censorship, forbidding Citizens to receive information, they have been arrested for treason among other crimes. The Obama administration appears intended to curtail Americans’ right to know, restrict American’s right to communicate via the Internet and the Obama administration admits they want to pay writers in newspapers and other media to covertly propagandize their point of view. Is this not treason? Top CZAR Cass Sunstein prepared a 2008 paper that proposed spying on Americans, infiltrating groups and organizations to obstruct Free Speech, disrupt the exchange of ideas and disseminate false information to neutralize Americans that might question government.
    See: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=121884

    The majority of Americans oppose military governments. But increasingly during the last six months, more Americans quietly state they would trust the U.S. Military running U.S. Government temporarily over extremists in Obam’s government; that they would support a quasi Civilian/military form of government temporarily provided their civil and constitutional rights were protected and importantly, all leftists extremists in U.S. Government were deposed. This recent change of attitude by Americans might be explained by the fact they can relate to their U.S. Military and find nothing in common with Obama and his extreme leftist associations and supporters. Increasingly Americans appear to fear the Obama government more than the idea of having the U.S. Military temporarily run U.S. Government. Additionally Obama’s refusal to secure America’s Mexican border might have contributed to Americans identifying with a quasi/U.S. military government over an Obama government that won’t protect Border States from foreign invaders. The number of Marxists in the U.S. is small, but having them control any part of our government is repugnant to most Americans that believe it not in the best interest of our economy, national defense and National Security. Considering the direction America is going economically, more Americans are afraid that if things collapse, Obama might use the U.S. Military against U.S. Citizens; that should things collapse a quasi Civilian/U.S. Military government not the Obama administration should run America. This is mentioned only to note there is a strong wind blowing across America, that is howling enough Obama.

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  15. Will the FEC Regulate Speech on Blogs Through the FCC and Net Neutrality? – Updated and Bumped :: The Lonely Conservative
    July 7, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    […] of actually discussing how Reason got the argument wrong in its initial reporting on the subject, a Public Citizen lobbyist (which supports the legislation) called it a death-panel argument.  Another group […]

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  16. From Banning Books to Banning Blogs - Reason.com
    August 2, 2012 @ 5:02 am

    […] regulating the Internet—and even creates death panels?” Public Citizen lobbyist Craig Holman compared pointing out a serious consequence of sloppy statutory language in this campaign finance bill to […]

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  17. The DISCLOSE Act’s assault on political bloggers – Day III
    April 29, 2014 @ 11:13 am

    […] the way with a hysterical and false response was Craig Holman of Public Citizen, who […]

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  18. Lies, Damned Lies and Reformers, Part I
    April 29, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    […] Holman’s piece, after engaging in a bit of name calling and allusions to “death panels,” says that the expanded definition of independent expenditure does not change the definition of “public communication” as it is defined in federal election law and FEC regulations: “Thus, it leaves in place the carefully worked out provisions of FEC regulations that exclude blogging and similar internet activity from the definitions of ‘expenditure’ and ‘public communication’ under campaign finance laws,” Holman wrote. […]

    Reply

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