“Speech Police Are On The Move” *Open Thread*



And how. As somewhat of a companion piece to yesterday’s “Moral Compass” post, there an excellent overview of cases that have led/are leading to a silencing of free speech. (H/t to Robin for image above.)

We are seeing more and more that the Speech Police often operate under the pretense of separation between a non-profit and a political candidate. From The Federalist:

Imagine this: Amidst a close election, a partisan government lawyer with questionable authority investigates a conservative nonprofit supporting a political candidate. The government theorizes the candidate and organization are communicating too much—”coordinating” in legal parlance. A court eventually exonerates the group finding the government’s theory onerous. But it does so only after a years-long investigation that clouds the group’s operations, impedes its fundraising efforts, and ultimately negates its ability to influence voters during the election.

The above scenario indeed happened. But it was not, as the reader may suspect, the recently terminatedJohn Doe‘ investigation, which targeted Wisconsin Club for Growth–as well as other organizations–for supporting Scott Walker during his recall election. The nonprofit was the Christian Coalition, the candidate was George H. W. Bush, and the government lawyer was then-Federal Election Commission enforcement chief Lois Lerner.

Yes, Lois Lerner has been at this for a long, long time. No wonder she got bumped up to a high-level position at the IRS, huh?

And there are some correlations to the Wisconsin case, as The Federalist continues:

What We Can Learn from Wisconsin

Jim Bopp, the Christian Coalition’s lawyer, detailed the government harassment in a 1999 article. The FEC demanded over 100,000 pages of documents, with harassment of all 49 Coalition state-affiliates stretching back years before any alleged improprieties occurred. The collected documents included sensitive information about donors and lobbying strategies. The FEC also deposed almost 50 people from the Coalition and Bush’s campaign, including the former President himself. The defeat hardly harmed Lerner’s standing, however. Shortly thereafter she became the FEC’s acting general counsel before absconding to the IRS in 2001.

Thus the Wisconsin case, while frightening in its own right, was unique from other cases only in the breadth of its privacy invasions, its secrecy, and possibly the confluence of the phrases “political speech” and “battering ram” in the same judicial opinion. In other respects, however, it exemplifies a decades-long quest by an incestuous cabal of government regulators and allied nonprofit “reformers” to silence conservative groups and damage Republican candidates.

The article goes on to highlight just why this was so much worse than the previous case. It is troubling indeed.

But it also highlights the connection between some non-profits and the government in getting them to do their bidding:

[…] The cozy relationship between government investigators and these reformer nonprofits–and their collective, undue influence over political investigations–cannot be overstated. For starters, these groups often lobby government agencies through former colleagues. For example, Campaign Legal Center includes a former FEC Commissioner—a nominal “Republican” who never met a speech restriction he didn’t like—a former 13-year FEC general counsel, and a former Justice Department attorney.

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that the IRS lacked adequate controls and oversight to guard against improper targeting.

The groups work through litigation, regulatory complaints, public letters, and other accoutrements of public-pressure campaigns. Litigation and regulatory complaints tie up resources, hinder fundraising, and distract from ideological missions. Frequently the complaints center on unsettled law or minor, trivial errors. Public letters, a form of currency in Washington’s nonprofit world, may seem mild, but act as strong signalers that often catalyze bureaucratic action against intended targets. For example, Democracy 21’s Fred Wertheimer, then part of Common Cause, sent one such letter to the DOJ after the 1996 presidential election complaining of ‘soft money’ abuses. As a result, the Justice Department launched an investigation and formed a task force comprised of 24 lawyers, 67 FBI agents, and 35 support personnel.

The effects of this pressure can be hidden, coming to light only through scandal. Immediately after the Citizens United decision, reform groups began complaining to IRS officials about nonprofits acting too overtly political. Lerner acknowledged the pressure in an infamous campaign finance panel at Duke in 2010: “Everybody is screaming at us, fix it now! Before the election! Can’t you see how much these people are spending!” By this time, of course, the IRS had already begun unconstitutionally targeting conservative nonprofits.


But it is the coordination issue where the most danger for government mischief lies. The Justice Department—which has prosecution powers that make potential arbitrary abuse especially scary—has been positively itching to resume its role in the speech-targeting game. After Citizens United, its Public Integrity division discussed prosecuting conservative nonprofits it viewed as too political. This led it to illegally collect donor information on certain conservative groups. And according to a House Oversight Committee report, the DOJ and the FBI maintained an investigatory “dialogue” about pursuing political-speech prosecutions, although they never put their plans into action.(Click here to read the rest.)

Exactly. It is this collusion between certain groups or government officials to silence speech of people or groups with which they disagree politically that is troubling indeed. How very sad that the following applies to the very institution charged with upholding our right of free speech (h/t Robin):


We must remain vigilant. And we must continue to fight, fight, fight for our rights guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. That is especially true for our right to free speech regardless of how it might offend others. Perhaps if people actually took the time to LISTEN to one another instead of pouncing on every little thing assuming they will be offended, we just might learn something from each other.

Hey, it could happen, right?

This is an Open Thread.


Tags: , , , , , ,

22 Responses to ““Speech Police Are On The Move” *Open Thread*”

  1. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    And speaking of Lois Lerner, check out how she spoke about Republicans in her emails: http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/08/lois-lerner-emails-republicans-are-evil-and-dishonest

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      It not only could happen, it is happening. It happens every day. This bloated, corrupt government that has control over every phase of our life is filled with thousands of Lois Lerner’s who seem to think that their ideology trumps laws and even decency.

      I will continue to fight but to tell the truth, given the size and scope of government, given the depth and breadth of the corruption, and given a media the refuses to investigate or even report on corruption if it’s on their side of the bias, I think we’ve already lost.

      The rise of a mountebank like Trump seals the issue for me.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Sadly, yes, you are absolutely right. It is happening, and has been happening, for longer than many of us knew. At this point, trying to maintain Free Speech in light of Government interference is going to be a hard row to hoe, but it is a fight worth fighting…

        No kidding abt Trump. I continue to be amazed at how people excuse his behavior. I am waiting to hear their justifications for why he is not doing the Iowa State Fair event in which people can ask questions – Hillary Clinton isn’t either. The others are, though.

        I have no doubt they will find a way to excuse him and manage not to equate his behavior with Hillary’s…

        • kenoshamarge Says:

          The Trumpbots are like the Obots and like the Clintonistas in their inability to take a rational and fact based look at who they support. Instead they attack anyone that dares not agree with them. And from personal experience I can attest to the Trumpbots being every bit as nasty and delusional as the Obots.

          You wonder if they will ever come to their senses.

  2. foxyladi14 Says:

    Great post Amy.
    Lois L. should be jail. 🙂

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    Is there one honest person in elected office? Yet I’m sure all the little Dems will continue to vote for this woman who has proved she has no scuples and no character.

    I wish they would throw the book at her but am doubtful she’ll get more than a slap on the wrist.

    Ethics Group: McCaskill Admitted Campaign Finance Violations in Politico Column

    An ethics watchdog group filed a legal complaint against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) on Thursday, saying she admitted to violating campaign finance laws in a Wednesday column for Politico.

    The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, headed by former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whittaker, alleges that McCaskill made an illegal in-kind contribution to the primary campaign of then-Rep. Todd Akin (R., Mo.), who unsuccessfully challenged McCaskill in 2012.

    CNN reported on the Federal Election Commission complaint on Friday:

    “Senator McCaskill did not simply meddle in another party’s primary, rather, she crossed the legal line and made a prohibited donation in violation of federal law,” said Matthew Whitaker, executive director of the group, in the complaint.

    The complaint says McCaskill admitted to helping Akin win the Republican primary because she believed she could beat him in the general election. The Missouri senator wrote in a passage from her book “Plenty Ladylike” — which was excerpted in Politico this week — sharing how she spent $40,000 polling Missouri Republicans, and that staffers on the Akin campaign spoke with McCaskill’s pollster.

    Federal law limits in-kind campaign donations to $2,500, a figure the complaint says McCaskill violated by allowing her pollster to share data with the Akin campaign.

    “By providing polling data and information, Senator McCaskill made an in-kind donation to a candidate that appears to be in violation of federal law,” Whitaker wrote.


  4. kenoshamarge Says:

    Is it possible?

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

    Whatever else you have to say about George and Laura Bush, they raised two fine young daughters. Jenna is particularly impressive. Teacher, author and correspondent. Evidently she actually works for her paycheck at NBC unlike a Clinton daughter we might mention.

    Jenna Bush Hager and husband welcome daughter named after George H. W. Bush


    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I was surprised she worked for NBC, but yes – Jenna did seem to actually WORK, so there is that. I saw an article the other day abt how her mother and grandmother called her on her last day before she took maternity leave. Sweet, huh?

      And yes – whatever one may say abt the Bushes, they did indeed do a great job rearing those girls…

  6. kenoshamarge Says:

    More examples of “Speech Police”.

    Leftist Language-Control on Campus

    How the “progressive” Gestapo rules the American campus.

    Recently, the University of New Hampshire’s “Bias-Free Language Guide” (BFLG) was revealed to the public. There was a backlash and the President of UNH flew into damage-control mode.

    Soon thereafter, administrators decided to pull the guide from its website.

    While writing about the BFLG, I assured those readers who may not be in the know that UNH is all too typical of academia today. About as outrageous as the BFLG was President Mark W. Huddleston’s assertion that speech “is free and unfettered” on UNH’s campus.

    The contemporary campus is many things, but a bastion of free and unfettered speech is not one of them.

    Take the University of California’s program on “Diversity and Faculty development.” The program identifies a host of “micro-aggressions.” The latter are “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”

    A chart is listed with three columns. In the far left column are “themes.” In the middle column are “micro-aggression examples.” In the far right column are the “messages” that these instances of micro-aggressions convey.

    Below is a select list of illustrations :

    Because of physical appearances or name, you assume a person to be “foreign-born.” By complimenting that person on his or her fluency in English—“You speak English very well”—you communicate this message:

    “You are not a true American.”

    If, upon encountering a “person of color” who happens to be good at math, you exclaim, “Wow! How did you become so good in math?” you imply that “people of color are generally not as intelligent as Whites.”


    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Ever feel like you fell down the rabbit hole?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      YES – what happened at that institution in NH is EXACTLY the kind of thing that is affecting our free speech. That is what I mean abt all these delicate little flowers who just cannot handle hearing something that might offend their delicate sensibilities. It is just ludicrous, but yes, these professors and institutions are stifling speech, and helping to make these young people immature and thin-skinned.

      And yes, I often feel that way.

      Thank you so much for this, Marge – absolutely spot on!

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        As soon as I started reading it I thought, “this is exactly what Rev Amy was talking about.” What happens to all those delicate little flowers when the real world smacks them in the puss? Life is seldom easy and if you have learned to cope you can better handle the rough spots. These youngings are in for some harsh reality sooner or later and won’t have a clue what to do.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Precisely, Marge – they are going to be ill-equipped for dealing with the real world. They are going to expect everyone to pander to them, that no one can say anything that might hurt their little feelings, and will feel perfectly justified in throwing hissy fits when someone has the AUDACITY to say something they don’t like.

          What a mess. It is far past time for educators to start teaching the Constitution and our rights again so these young folk understand they do NOT have the right not to be offended…

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

    Those on the Left who support Hillary for president have been bending over backwards to try and explain that the Clintons are just like us, and if this doesn’t seal their “regular people” cred, nothing will:

    Bill and Hillary Clinton renting vacation home in the Hamptons for rumored $100,000.

    The couple rented the same place for three weeks last year, after Hillary controversially declared they were “dead broke.”

    Hillary Clinton’s Hamptons Rental Costs 87 Times What Average American Spends on Vacation

    The New York Times better prepare another exposé of Marco Rubio’s “luxury speedboat” asap!

    For such savvy politicians the Clintons don’t seem to get the whole “optics” thing do they?


    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      It amazes me how people can attack Romney and the other wealthy Reps while completely ignoring the wealthy Dems like Obama, Kerry, Clinton, WARREN (since they like to think she is some Socialist Princess), et al. The hypocrisy is staggering.

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        Part of the problem is that so many just don’t know what they don’t know. They learn a few talking points and think themselves well informed. Add in a media that excoriates wealthy people on the right at every opportunity and seldom mentions the fabulous wealth of those on the left.

        Having seen photos of the Clinton’s Manse at Chappaqua I wonder why anyone who lived there would feel the need to “rent” something in the Hamptons. Except that the thing to “do” for the uber wealthy isn’t it?

        Did the Gilded Age ever really end for those with wealth beyond our understanding?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: