The Center Strongly Supports H.R. 46

'The First Amendment Restoration Act will begin to give Americans back their free speech rights.'


February 9, 2005

Contact: Reid Alan Cox or Marshall Manson


‘First Amendment Restoration Act’ Re-Introduced
CFIF Announces Strong Support

Alexandria, VA — The Center for Individual Freedom today announced its support for the First Amendment Restoration Act (H.R. 46), re-introduced by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) for the 109th Congress.  The bill would repeal provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) that silence interest groups in the days leading up to elections.

“Passing the First Amendment Restoration Act will be a good and necessary first step toward repairing the damage done to Americans’ constitutional rights by so-called ‘campaign finance reform,’” said Reid Cox, the Center’s General Counsel.  “Right now, those ‘reforms’ prevent voters from talking about their elected representatives just when other citizens are most likely to be listening — before elections.  The First Amendment Restoration Act will begin to give Americans back their free speech rights.”

BCRA forces labor unions, corporations, non-profit groups and others to pay for "electioneering communications" through Political Action Committees with contributions subject to federal limits. Electioneering communications include any broadcast, cable or satellite communication that refers to a clearly identified federal candidate within thirty days of a primary or sixty days of a general election.

“The command that ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech’ comes first in the Bill of Rights for a reason — because a free people must always retain the right to both criticize and congratulate their government,” Cox said.  “Our leaders should be listening carefully to what the American people have to say, especially during elections, rather than trying to ban them from saying anything at all.

“The First Amendment Restoration Act will help ensure that our elected representatives hear from their constituents 365 days a year.  Surely all Americans can agree that our government should not be limiting political speech in the days, weeks and months before we decide who should lead us next,”  Cox concluded.

The Center for Individual Freedom ( is a non-profit, non-partisan constitutional advocacy organization dedicated to protecting individual freedoms and individual rights.  The Center opposed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold) in Congress and the courts, most recently as a named plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold restrictions.

[Posted February 10, 2005
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