FEC Officially Votes to Silence Political Speech for Last Two Months of 06 Campaign
With a 3-3 vote featuring Democrat commissioners supporting the silencing of political speech against congressional incumbents and Republican commissioners in favoring of allowing it, the Federal Elections Commission has now made it official - As required by the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002, there can be no paid political broadcast ads criticizing incumbent Members of Congress for the two months prior to the Nov. 7 election.
This is the ultimate form of Incumbent Protection Act, short of repealing elections.
Go here for Knoxnews comment and text of AP story reporting the FEC vote.
I say it again - if the Republican Party nominates Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, for president in 2008 without his official apology for and repudiation of McCain-Feingold, plus introduction of legislation to repeal that monstrous outrage against the First Amendment, no conservative, libertarian or honest liberal can support him for the White House.
There is NO room for compromise on this issue. Either you believe in the First Amendment right to freedom of speech or you don't.
Glenn Reynolds also adds these two reminders that put the FEC action in proper perspective - McCain has been actively courting the Blogosphere for months and the "massive public support" for campaign finance reform was nothing less than a convenient PR myth bought and paid for by liberal foundations.
UPDATE: CapitalEye has more
This is worse than even I thought. Turns out the FEC was considering a proposal by a coalition of groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO seeking an exemption from McCain-Feingold to let unions, corporations and advocacy groups to run broadcast ads so long as they met certain qualifications.
It was FEC member Hans von Spakovsky's motion to approve the request that was voted down 3-3 (Motions have to receive a majority in order to gain FEC approval).
"Under von Spakovsky's proposal, labor unions, corporations and other advocacy groups could have run television and radio ads that urge members of Congress to vote a certain way on a bill or that encourage the public to contact their elected representatives.
"The proposal restricted ads to mentioning only incumbents and prohibited critiques of the lawmakers' qualifications for office. Ads could not refer to an upcoming election and would have to cite verbatim quotations from the lawmaker discussing the issue.
"Ads that promoted, supported, attacked or opposed a candidate would not qualify for exemption from the blackout period. Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, who voted against the proposal, said the definition of such ad content needed to be clearer."
This is exactly what the Founders intended to avoid - our political speech being at the sufferance of politicians and bureaucrats. McCain-Feingold is a textbook example: Congress passes legislation concerning political speech, which is approved by the Supreme Court and then administered by bureaucrats who are thereby authorized to slice and dice the nouns and verbs of every sentence of affected speech.
There is only one way to avoid this - Every word of McCain-Feingold must be repealed.