Democrat’s Newest Attack on Free Political Speech With Willing Assistance by Media

-By Warner Todd Huston

What would you say if a Koch Brothers, right-wing effort was pushed on Americans with the knowing assistance of National Public Radio — and big money was paid to NPR for the effort? Would you say that this is an outrage, that NPR’s use of public airwaves to push a right-wing policy idea is a misuse of the journalist’s charge as well as our national airwaves? Well, that is exactly what happened but with a left-wing idea, the policy of so-called campaign-finance reform.

A whistleblower whose career was built on pushing left-wing, anti-free speech campaign donation limitation laws recently blew the lid off the subterfuge that backers of legislation like the disastrous McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law perpetrated to get their way in Washington.

The whistleblower, Sean Treglia, reports that players in this tale of smoke and mirrors were such left-wing foundations as the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Carnegie Corporation, as well as magazines like the liberal The American Prospect, and “news” organizations like National Public Radio.

Of course, it would be one thing if these liberal organizations, magazines and news groups were pushing a left-wing ideal because they truly believed such policies were the best medicine for our troubled political atmosphere, but apparently mere altruistic advocacy is not what went on here. Big, big money was given by these liberal groups to media outlets to help affect these political goals.

A recent Volokh Conspiracy posting revealed the money trail as alleged by Mr. Treglia, a former program officer of the Pew Charitable Trusts, included such payoffs as:

  • In September of 2000, less than two years before the passage of McCain-Feingold, the liberal magazine The American Prospect put out a special issue devoted to campaign-finance reform/the “Checkbook Democracy” issue was paid for with a $132,000 check from the Carnegie Corporation
  • Since 1994, National Public Radio has accepted more than $1.2 million from liberal foundations promoting campaign-finance reform
  • Radio and Television News Directors Foundation accepted $935,000 between 1995 and 2001 from liberal foundations promoting campaign-finance reform

Imagine if a right-wing policy idea was pushed with huge cash outlays to “media” outlets!

All this is an effort to stamp out free political speech.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) has taken on this topic warning us all that the left’s goal is no less than a gutting of the First Amendment. In a speech he gave to the American Enterprise Institute, Senator McConnell has called this campaign an urgent threat to political speech in America.

The left is engaged in an effort to “control everything,” McConnell has said. “They want the federal government to have the power to silence their critics,” he insisted.

McConnell has been warning about the newest efforts of the left to impose ever more disclosure laws, rules that they wish to wield as a weapon against conservatives and Republicans who donate to political movements and candidates. “Remember that contributions to our political campaigns are already subject to disclosure,” he noted. “What they want to do is go digging through the records of outside groups.”

Indeed, after McConnell made these remarks an Obama campaign lawyer filed a complaint demanding that a conservative group be forced to reveal its donors to Democrats.

Another new tactic of the left has been termed SWATing. McConnell also mentioned this illicit, illegal tactic in his June 15 press release.

Noting that justice Thomas’ majority decision in Citizens United didn’t go far enough to list the illegal activities of those attempting to silence their opposition, McConnell explained how SWATing works.

Justice Thomas goes on to note that the advent of the Internet has made these tactics even easier to pull off, and thus increases the likelihood that the public will be discouraged from participating in the political process. It’s a point that’s underscored by recent news reports of a tactic known as Swatting, something Andrew Breitbart raised the alarm about in one of his final interviews.

Here’s how it works. Somebody who knows how to hack into phones calls 911, ostensibly from your phone, and tells the police they just killed somebody. Within minutes, the local SWAT team shows up at your house, guns drawn, helicopters swirling overhead. And while this tactic is clearly criminal and should be prosecuted aggressively, the goal is equally reprehensible – namely to scare people who’ve dared to speak, write, or otherwise support a cause that the Swatters don’t like.

But shadowy left-wing conspirators working behind the scenes aren’t the only ones responsible for the attack on our First Amendment rights. High profile Democrat leaders are also engaged in this anti-American effort, up to and including President Obama.

Just last week, for instance, Obama’s chief adviser and campaign ramrod, David Axelrod, announced that a main goal of a second Obama term would be to upset Citizens United and that the President would work to make Super PACs illegal.

Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) is pushing a Constitutional amendment to affect just such a change. The amendment has found hearty support from Senators such as Chuck Schumer (D, NY), Frank Lautenberg (D, NJ) and Tom Udall (D, NM). Lautenberg even outrageously said that “The Tea Party Republicans… don’t deserve the freedoms that are in the Constitution!”

For his part, Udall attacked the Supreme Court saying, “This is the core issue. All the things we believe in are not going to get done unless we face down the Supreme Court. They have taken this over. And what we’re doing with this constitutional amendment is we’re saying to them: ‘No longer. You aren’t in charge of this anymore.'”

Indeed, the whole of the Democrat leadership have signed onto a plan to amend the Constitution to eliminate our free political speech. Democrat House members such as Keith Ellison (D, MN), Ted Deutch (D, FL), and Donna Edwards (D, MD) have joined the call to alter the Constitution’s safeguards of free political speech.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is giddy over the thought of such an alteration to the law of the land. At an April press conference, Pelosi said, “We have a clear agenda in this regard. Disclose, reform the system, reducing the role of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to use secret, unlimited, huge amounts of money going to campaigns.”

As McConnell so aptly put it in his press release, “This dangerous alliance threatens the character of America. And that’s why it is critically important for all conservatives — and indeed all Americans — to stand up and unite in defense of the freedom to organize around the causes we believe in, and against any effort that would constrain our ability to do so.”

We’d all better start paying attention before it is too late.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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