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February 12, 2005

Wherefore Freedom of Speech

If this doesn't furrow your brow, well, it should:

"It was an unintended consequence of McCain-Feingold. Instead of going to the parties, rich people are putting money into these 527s in the dark of night," Lott told the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss.

In other words, some of those rich people might be trying to throw out incumbents.

McCain is even more blatant about the incumbent-protection angle. As The Washington Times reported last week, "McCain said lawmakers should support the bill out of self-interest, because it would prevent a rich activist from trying to defeat an incumbent by directing money into a political race through a 527 organization."

"That should alarm every federally elected member of Congress," McCain said.

Indeed, it certainly does.

Subsequent to these catches, Ryan Sager raises an important point: grouping citizens under a "shadowy and devious" number — 527 — doesn't remove their guaranteed right to free speech. Now that all three branches of government have abandoned the Constitution in this respect, there's little incentive among our legislative rulers to correct their error.

Although Sager doesn't make this point, his closing hopes that a future Supreme Court will revisit the issue hint at a broader concern about that branch. In recent decades, SCOTUS has been better known for finding new rights in the Constitution. With its rubber stamping of "campaign finance reform," the court has effectively ignored a right.

The time may not be far off that American citizens have to reclaim their own government. Let's hope that it can be accomplished from within the system.

Posted by Justin Katz at February 12, 2005 10:59 AM