The Barack Obama re-election campaign is once again targeting conservative donors – and this time, they’re calling for restrictions on the First Amendment to do it. In an email titled, “Hell no,” Jim Messina wrote:
Something big happened in Richmond last week -- and a couple millionaires and billionaires are hoping you didn't notice.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed last week that groups like the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS should have to disclose exactly who's behind the millions of dollars they're spending to influence this election.
They're going to try to avoid this for as long as they can. After all, they have a vested interest in being able to spend millions anonymously to influence our elections -- many of the corporations and individuals funding their organizations don't want their agendas to receive scrutiny from the press or the public.
We can make sure they don't get away with hiding these donors -- or their agendas. But it's going to take a lot of us standing up, putting our foot down, and saying "Hell no."
We've put together a petition demanding that these secret front groups disclose for the country exactly who their donors are. Do what these guys won't do: Let the country know exactly what you stand for by adding your name today.
Ask yourself: Don't we all have a right to know exactly which corporations and individuals are spending millions in attack ads to influence elections -- and what their agendas are?
If you agree, add your name today:
First off, there is obvious irony to complaining about failure to disclose donors while attacking donors by name in the same sentence. There’s a reason donors don’t want their names disclosed – they don’t want to become the targets of national email campaigns that cite them as the root of all evil.
Second, no amount of “standing up, putting our foot down, and saying ‘Hell no’” is going to change the Supreme Court’s obviously correct ruling in Citizens United. Public outcry is not supposed to impact judicial decisions, particularly ones that go to fundamental constitutional rights.
But the Messina email ties into a broader mission that the Obama administration is now pushing: amending the First Amendment to go after corporate donors. This has become a serious proposal among Democrats. Back in April, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested that we amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) proposed the same thing back in December 2011. No wonder Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Obama administration was pursuing “bullying” and “intimidation” in an effort to go after conservative donors. The administration’s sponsorship of the so-called DISCLOSE Act is obviously an attempt to end-around the Citizens United decision, too. “This administration claims that the goal of this bill is transparency,” said McConnell, “but the enthusiasm with which it has embraced the thuggish tactics of the left suggests that its true goal is to silence critics.”
For Democrats and the Obama campaign, free speech takes a back seat to campaigning. When they say “Hell no,” they’re saying “Hell no” to the political participation of their enemies, and “Hell yes” to the persecution of those opponents.