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Supreme Court rules against McCain-Feingold gag order law

Posted by Stephen on June 30, 2007

OpEd by Newt Gingrich

In a substantial and important victory for democracy and free speech, the Supreme Court just hours ago announced that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law cannot completely stifle the free speech of citizens and groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life, which brought the challenge to the McCain-Feingold law’s assault on liberty.

The case arose when Wisconsin Right to Life was prohibited from running an ad urging listeners to call their Wisconsin senators and tell them not to filibuster President Bush’s judicial nominees. Today, this exercise of free political speech has been vindicated by the nation’s highest court.

The 1st Amendment to the Constitution says: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” It does not say Congress can abridge speech it doesn’t like.

By striking the first significant blow against the McCain-Feingold anti-free speech law, the court has struck a blow for the constitutional rights of all of us. Yet there is more work to do. We must continue the vigorous work of groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life to ultimately repeal this pernicious law’s censorship of the American people.

Bloomberg Is Proof That We Should Repeal the Rest of McCain-Feingold

The other news this week is that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent as the first move toward what many people think will be a run for President.

I think Bloomberg has done a terrific job as mayor, and people of New York who’ve twice picked him to lead their city seem to agree. He has every right to decide to run for President, and I hope he does. He will make a fantastic addition to the race.

But the possible Bloomberg candidacy highlights yet another of the anti-democratic, pro-Washington power structure aspects of the McCain-Feingold so-called campaign finance law.

Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire with plenty of money to spend on campaigning. When he ran for re-election as mayor, he reportedly spent $112 a vote. If Bloomberg enters a three-way presidential race as an Independent and spends just half of what he did per vote for his two campaigns for mayor, the amount would be enormous. In this model, if Bloomberg targeted the same number of votes as Clinton did in 1992 to win 43% of the vote and the presidency, Bloomberg would spend upwards of $1 billion dollars. That’s BILLION with a B.

Repeal McCain-Feingold and Give a Middle-Class Candidate a Chance

The tyranny of the anti-free speech McCain-Feingold law is that it cripples any middle-class candidate from matching the resources Mayor Bloomberg has ready in his bank account. While Mayor Bloomberg can simply write a check, McCain-Feingold forces less wealthy candidates to raise money in impossibly small amounts to compete.

The perverse effect of McCain-Feingold is that it has made money in politics more important, not less.

I wish Mayor Bloomberg all the success in the world. But Congress should take this opportunity to level the playing field and repeal McCain-Feingold.

A truly functioning campaign system would take power out of Washington and return it to its owners — the American people. Such a system would allow individuals to make unlimited contributions to candidates for Congress in their district, so long as it is reported immediately on the Internet and is transparent and accessible.

Newt Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of “Winning the Future” (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company). Click here to get his free Winning the Future e-mail newsletter.

Views expressed by OpEd writers do not necessarily reflect those of management of Conservative Viewpoints.

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