In response to Dems Still Trying to Make IRS Scandal About Citizens United:
At the Wall Street Journal, Justice Department veterans David Rivkin and Lee Casey discuss how Citizens United loomed large in the Left’s imagination, even as the IRS scandal was brewing. It was actually a collision between the Citizens United and McCain-Feingold storm fronts. Before the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms, there wasn’t much controversy around such groups, because they were liberal and the media approved of them:
This IRS restraint was doubtless reinforced by the fact that virtually all politically active (c)(4)s, mostly labor and environmental groups, were ideologically liberal and their activities were not attacked in the mainstream media or by the political establishment. Meanwhile, Republicans financed their political activities largely through candidate-specific campaigns and party and congressional committees.
Yet McCain-Feingold had the unintended effect of making 501(c)(4) political activities far more important than they had been, since the law’s ban on soft money doesn’t apply to such groups. Thus, it prompted the creation of conservative 501(c)(4)s–although there is little hard evidence of improper political activities by any such groups, whether liberal or conservative.
The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United further increased the importance of the groups by invalidating the restrictions against much political speech by corporations. This freed 501(c)(4) groups, which ordinarily are organized as corporations, to engage in the express advocacy of political causes and candidates.
Then Obama, his followers, and his Party allies went off on the evils of the Tea Party, which Rivkin and Casey are charitable enough to view as activating the Beckett Protocol – i.e., the King says “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” and his minions take it upon themselves to murder said priest, without any direct orders being given.
There is one group of corporations whose political speech liberals absolutely love. Surprise, surprise, it’s the one they dominate: the media. They’re all in favor of non-profits influencing American politics in the name of what they define as public welfare, but when a conservative group says it wants to “make America a better place,” it’s a sinister conspiracy that must be crushed with the full force of government. Liberals have no appetite for learning what ideological competition on a level playing field would be like.