Tomorrow, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will speak at American Enterprise Institute, where he is scheduled to talk about anti-First Amendment intimidation by the Obama Administration and by the political left associated with it. Sen. McConnell has long been one of the most ardent advocates of the First Amendment on Capitol Hill, standing firm against the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act sponsored by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold, among other violations of First Amendment freedom of political speech.
Breitbart News spoke with Sen. McConnell in anticipation of his speech. He called the Obama Administration’s record on the First Amendment “terrible.”
“This is a dangerous, radical administration,” said McConnell.
“I’m going to lay out a long litany of abuses pursued by the Obama Administration and its allies against its political opponents,” McConnell said. “It’s reminiscent of the Nixon administration. It’s much more pervasive than Clinton. They have their enemies list. They’re checking it twice. They’re going to go after those that have been naughty and not nice.”
While the Obama administration has claimed that it wants “disclosure” from outside political groups, McConnell says that the focus on disclosure is misleading. “Now, having failed in their efforts to allow the government to control the speech of outside entities, the Obama administration wants to restrict and punish free speech via disclosure. Disclosure sounds wonderful, but this isn’t about transparency – this is about trying to get the donor and membership lists of outside groups who do not even contribute to candidates and parties. They certainly have a case of selective outrage. I find they only get outraged at those who don’t agree with them.”
McConnell is incensed over the administration’s use of government and nongovernmental resources to target its political enemies. “They’ve used the IRS, the FEC, the FCC, the SEC, their allies in the Obama campaign to go after people who disagree with them. The Obama campaign has rifled through the divorce records of a major donor to an opposing super PAC. The government itself is intimidating donors. Appointees at the IRS and other agencies are pursuing similar efforts to ferret out who is contributing to outside groups critical of the administration so that they can scare them off the playing field and shut them up.”
Most frightening of all, says McConnell, is that David Axelrod, head of the president’s re-election campaign and former White House honcho, has stated that “he wants to amend the First Amendment – the ultimate act of radicalism – to give to the federal government the ability to control the speech of American citizens who band together to pursue a political cause.
Sen. McConnell says that there is a “full-scale effort underway to intimidate and harass their opponents. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re coordinating with outside left-wing groups to be supportive of their causes. That’s their prerogative.”
McConnell left the door open for House Republicans who want to call for an investigation on these issues. While he said that he doesn’t know if there is illegal activity going it, “It certainly raises suspicion when you have unusual efforts by the IRS to make it difficult for Tea Party groups to meet and to function. It raises suspicions that they may not be doing that to groups on the left. The larger question is why they’re doing it at all.”
Sen. McConnell drew special attention to allegations that certain left-wing activists have been SWATting their political enemies. “I know you’ve been right on top of that story,” he said of Breitbart News. “I think those reports are incredibly disturbing and need to be fully investigated, and I hope we can get somebody in the majority position of the House to take a look at it. There’s somebody I’ve heard about named Brett Kimberlin, who is a left-wing terrorist that I know many people feel may be behind the SWATting. That’s strictly illegal, and should be investigated.”
“They are trying to shut up their critics,” McConnell said. “I want to stiffen the spines of those who are out there. Do not be afraid of this crowd. Don’t let them scare you. Every American has a right to organize, to speak, to contribute to causes they believe in. The best way to stop them would be to defeat them in the election this November.”