Friday, October 05, 2007

Asserting First Amendment Rights Unfortunate?

I respect the work that Professor Rick Hasen has done in the election law field and on some matters, we agree, but I have to say this is one area where we disagree.

The Federal Election Commission is considering rules related to ads exempt under the Wisconsin Right to Life as applied rules. Here are Professor Hasen's comments:
I've already noted that the James Madison Center (who represented plaintiff in the WRTL case) has taken the position that the FEC should exempt from disclosure ads entitled to the "as applied" FEC exemption. Richard Briffault and I have taken a contrary position, arguing that the FEC regulations should apply only to whether corporations and unions may use their treasury funds to pay for such ads.

Now, while perusing this page containing all the comments on the rulemaking submitted to the FEC, I see that Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO/AFSCME/SEIU, and National Association of Realtors have taken the same unfortunate position on disclosure as the James Madison Center. (links in original omitted)
I rarely agree with what big labor has to say, but I will fight for their right to say it.

I find it disheartening that organizations have to fight for the right to speak their collective mind, i.e. exercise their first Amendment rights.

As the First Amendment says--"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press..." Wanting to exercise First Amendment speech rights is not unfortunate, it is iherent.

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