Gag Me: Attempts To Silence Before The Mid-Term Elections *Open Thread*


The efforts by government entities, both actual and threatened, are being used to silence political speech. Again. We saw this happen in a big way in 2012 with the IRS essentially silencing a number of conservative and religious groups.

And the IRS is being threatened to bear against churches and ministers, as BizPacReview highlights:

[…] Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, an organization that seeks to do exactly what its name says, has sent letters to thousands of pastors ahead of the midterm elections reminding them that they can be punished by the IRS if they speak out, according to Fox News.

The letter reads, in part: “If the IRS has determined your place of worship has intervened in an election, it has the power to revoke your tax exemption. It can also levy significant fines on an offending congregation or its leaders.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)

The article also had a discussion about this very issue with Father Jonathan Morris over the weekend:

Father Morris sums it up well. Ministers are people, too, and as such, we do have our own opinions on the matter. To try and silence speech by ministers seems to be a common theme this year (can’t forget about what is happening to ministers in Houston). It is a fine line to walk, though – be true to oneself and one’s beliefs, preach that, talk about that, but to throw one’s weight behind a particular candidate from the pulpit is problematic. And that CAN get us into a bit of hot water with the IRS. It is a fine line to walk, indeed…

But I have to say, this pales in comparison to what is happening in Wisconsin, an important state as Gov. Walker runs for re-election (and of course, because of Kenoshamarge!). Specifically, that would be John Chisholm, the DA (D) for Milwaukee County is engaging in some exceedingly disturbing tactics to silence political opponents. George Will has a great column, “The Nastiest Political Tactic This Year,” which details what is happening there:

The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

…Now, however, Wisconsin, which to its chagrin produced Sen. Joe McCarthy (R), has been embarrassed by Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm. He has used Wisconsin’s uniquely odious “John Doe” process to launch sweeping and virtually unsupervised investigations while imposing gag orders to prevent investigated people from defending themselves or rebutting politically motivated leaks.


In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups.

This isn’t at all chilling, is it? Can you imagine having the DA send these teams to your house, to bust in without reason or warrant, and then forcing you to remain SILENT about what the government has just done to you? All because of politics? Oh, wait – I mean, for CONSERVATIVE politics? Will has more:

On Oct. 14, much too late in the campaign season to rescue the political-participation rights of conservative groups, a federal judge affirmed what Chisholm surely has known all along: Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago, the only coordination that is forbidden is between candidates and independent groups that go beyond issue advocacy to “express advocacy” — explicitly advocating the election or defeat of a particular candidate.

But Chisholm’s aim — to have a chilling effect on conservative speech — has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation. Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

Such misbehavior takes a toll on something that already is in short supply: belief in government’s legitimacy. The federal government’s most intrusive and potentially punitive institution, the IRS, unquestionably worked for Barack Obama’s reelection by suppressing activities by conservative groups. Would he have won if the government he heads had not impeded political participation by many opposition groups? We will never know. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Will goes on to say that should Mary Burke win, it will be a tainted win due to actions like the ones in which Chisholm is engaging.

But that Chisholm can do this, silence opposition speech through raids, threats, and gag orders, is truly disturbing. Admittedly, compared to the nation-wide gag order of conservative groups the IRS imposed in 2012, it is relatively small. But its effect on Gov. Walker, on Wisconsin, and on citizens exercising their rights, is troubling on a number of levels.

It is also troubling that ministers and churches across the country are being threatened about our speech as well. This willingness to stomp on our Free Speech rights, as well as free association, is beyond troubling. It is downright un-Constitutional.

At least that’s what I think. How about you? This is an Open Thread.


75 Responses to “Gag Me: Attempts To Silence Before The Mid-Term Elections *Open Thread*”

  1. HELENK3 Says:


  2. HELENK3 Says:

    victor davis hanson nails it again

  3. foxyladi14 Says:

    This is an amazing post Amy.
    And it explains very clearly what is going on in our country. 😦

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much, Foxy – I appreciate that!

      Hey, since they are springing you the day AFTER the election, will you get a chance to go vote? Hope so!

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

    Perhaps all of you can now see why I have so little use for the Democrat party. The Donks in Wisconsin have become so repulsive that it astonishes me that anyone with the smallest claim to decency and integrity could vote for them. Mary Burke is very corrupt, none too smart and would be a rerun of the Doyle years that left our state deep in debt.

    Because of all this I no longer have any respect for Dem voters. They allow their ideology to excuse the behavior of their party. Should the actions have been done by the right their outrage would be ginormous. Thus they are dishonest, indecent and hypocrites.

    Some, some few, may not be aware of what’s happening. The Potted Plant people. But most know and just don’t care. For their willingness to turn our state into a mirror-image of the corrupt state to our south I wish them nothing good.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I just cannot believe Burke is polling so well given her lack if intelligence, decency, and integrity. I was STUNNED when I saw how close she was running to Walker. What in the hell is wrong with people??

      And yes, after seeing what kinds of untoward shenanigans are going on there, your response to Dems is most understandable, Marge!

  5. HELENK3 Says:

    libs are stamping their feet and holding their breath

  6. HELENK3 Says:


  7. HELENK3 Says:

    anybody remember when it was the American worker who was the backbone of the country?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      What in the hell is she thinking?!?! That is an ABSURD thing to say. I’m with you, Helen.

      Btw, someone mentioned on the news this morning that it is VERY hard to become a Mexican citizen, yet they are more than happy to send people here illegally…

  8. HELENK3 Says:

    poor pitiful libs

  9. HELENK3 Says:

    Pentagon: US military isolates troops returning from West Africa at Italy base ‘out of an abundance of caution’; none of dozen being monitored have shown symptoms of exposure to Ebola – @Reuters

  10. HELENK3 Says:

    told you chocolate was a health food.
    good for heart and memory

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Oh, you don’t have to tell me! I routinely tell people dark chocolate peanut M&Ms are health food! AHAHAHAHA! Seriously, love dark chocolate, and I understand an ounce or two a day is good for us. Yippee!

  11. HELENK3 Says:

    Sheryl Attkisson

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I wondered what happened to that investigation. CBS News was supposed to have people looking into this – I guess they didn’t like the answer, another reason why they were all too happy for her to leave. Thanks for the update!

  12. HELENK3 Says:

    is the IRS exempt from the Constitution? they seem to think they are

  13. HELENK3 Says:

    I like his thinking

  14. HELENK3 Says:

    what are we doing to kids today? don’t be your best, do not take advantage of an opportunity because someone who is not might have their feeling hurt.
    God help this country

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Turning them into a bunch of mamby pambies, that’s what. This is just ridiculous. Let them play the GAME, and stop interfering lest someone’s feelings get hurt. It’s FOOTBALL, after all. If there is a mercy rule, then stop the game – don’t penalize and fine the winning team for playing the GAME! So, so, so sick of these people.

  15. HELENK3 Says:

    are you one of these types

  16. HELENK3 Says:

    this is cool

  17. HELENK3 Says:

    this will upset a few people

  18. HELENK3 Says:

    alternative to Hillary

  19. HELENK3 Says:

    maybe it is me and I am getting old. I am watching someone rowing on the lake by me. not sure if it is a kayak or a sculling row boat. he is by himself. there are alligators in that lake. that is the last place I would row a boat that is close to the water

  20. HELENK3 Says:

    maybe those showing islamic connections should have to downplay them. Oh we can’t have that it would hurt their feelings

  21. HELENK3 Says:

    More: State Department says UN Ambassador Samantha Power will not visit any Ebola treatment units while in West Africa; she and her party ‘will abide by all requirements upon their return’ – @NBCNews

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Aren’t they special? But Obama has no problem sending our people in the military into those disease infested hell holes.

  22. HELENK3 Says:

    Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, health officials announce new Ebola restrictions for state; all travelers returning from West Africa subject to travel restrictions – @StarTribune

  23. HELENK3 Says:

    just shake my head

  24. HELENK3 Says:

    Hilary backtracks

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      I guess it took a couple of days for the “brilliant” Ms Clinton to realize she put her foot in her mouth. She better keep channelling Bill because as a campaigner, she sucks.

      I wonder how I could have supported her and then I remember the alternative.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Good point, Marge. After watching her say this, I said to my partner that I cannot believe I bought that she wasn’t like the other politicians, and actually cared abt people, blah, blah, blah. But yeah, considering the alternative, she was the best choice.

        It is sad to me to see people who woke up to some of the Dems’ shenanigans after Obama throwing their support wholeheartedly to Clinton now. Sigh.

  25. HELENK3 Says:

    remember the safety rules next time you fly

  26. HELENK3 Says:

    close your business. get your insurance forms ready, look for real estate in another city.
    for the cops. fence them in, let them do the damage to the city and themselves. If they get hurt do not send any emergency services in harms way to help them. when they get tired lock them up

  27. HELENK3 Says:

    ICE catch and release program is a form of backtrack’s amnesty

  28. HELENK3 Says:

    New York hospital to keep 5-year-old boy in isolation after testing negative for Ebola until further tests completed out of ‘abundance of caution’ – statement

  29. HELENK3 Says:

    why can’t this be fast tracked?

  30. HELENK3 Says:–second-leaker–for-snowden-reporters-165741571.html

    this is interesting.
    holder leaving and interest in prosecuting leakers lessens

  31. HELENK3 Says:


  32. HELENK3 Says:

    something to watch for

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Sadly, this does not surprise me one bit. They have had a lot of practice in that regard, haven’t they?

  33. HELENK3 Says:


  34. HELENK3 Says:

    this is disheartning

  35. HELENK3 Says:

    now this is KARMA

  36. kenoshamarge Says:

    Great Branco cartoon!

    Branco cartoon from Legal Insurrection

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      That says it all, doesn’t it? And that so many still support him is astonishing…Oh, wait – that is because of how divisive he and the Dems have been. I mean, really, when it is a choice between Dems and Rep. terrorist tea partiers, there’s no choice, right? Ugh.

  37. kenoshamarge Says:

    And since Halloween is nearly here…

  38. kenoshamarge Says:

    Perhaps there is hope for this country if the black community is starting to see the truth. Now if only the damn silly women would.

    Black activists speaking out

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I am listening to a story abt a black pastor in IL who is supporting the Rep. for Governor, and the hateful calls he is getting from his community. He is handling it well, and being clear abt why. Basically, it is the, “what have they done for you lately?” thing. Can’t argue with that!

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        The left has done a “great” job thus far at silencing any conservative voices in the black community. As more AA look around and see that what the left has done is destroyed their culture and their family structure a change may be coming. If so expect the left to get louder and shriller and to play the race-care relentlessly. That may be the best way to defeat them, let them self-destruct in their own nasty craziness.

  39. HELENK3 Says:

    WOW something to think about

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Good articles but I think that both parties would do well to be afraid. If the GOP takes back the Senate and does not behave responsibly and in line with what the people want they won’t keep their majority long and the will set themselves up for failure in 2016. I happen to hope that Hillary Clinton is the Dem candidate because I believe she can not only be beaten, but she can be beaten quite badly by the right GOP candidate. And I sure as hell don’t mean Jeb Bush. The fight against her should be a fight against dynasties and the past.

      The GOP screwed up when they had all the power – I just hope they win a majority in the Senate and then do not screw up again. They can do that best, IMO, by staying away from social issues and working on tax reform, everyone hates the IRS, jobs and the economy. JMO

  40. HELENK3 Says:

    Gotta Love Sarah

  41. piper Says:

    Kenosha Marge,
    I live north of you in Milwaukee County. Today we’ll be blessed by a visit of the the won shutting down roads already congested by road repair/construction for what? What are your thoughts on a possible win for Mary?

  42. HELENK3 Says:

    6 years of hiding the ball

  43. HELENK3 Says:

    mandated hysteria
    global warming is the real problem,not ebola or jihadism

  44. HELENK3 Says:

    this is just ugly.
    and a former first lady was there and said nothing about it

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