While Sen. McCain Prepares Legislation Aimed at "527" Organizations, Nearly 20 Advocacy, Legal and Public Policy Organizations Express Opposition

February 13, 2007

Conservatives to McCain: Abandon Plans to Further Muzzle Political Speech!

While Sen. McCain Prepares Legislation Aimed at "527" Organizations, Nearly 20 Advocacy, Legal and Public Policy Organizations Express Opposition

ALEXANDRIA, VA – In a letter sent to Senator John McCain, a coalition of nearly 20 grassroots, legal and public policy organizations today emphatically expressed their opposition to any attempts by the Arizona Senator and Presidential hopeful to further muzzle political speech.   

The letter, organized by the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF), was sent in response to recent and numerous public statements by McCain's Senate office and Presidential campaign staff announcing his intention to further limit political speech by introducing legislation in the 110th Congress to ban so-called "527" organizations.

The letter points to the irony of Senator McCain's plans, as it notes that the very 527 organizations the Senator now seeks to silence are a direct consequence of the McCain-Feingold legislation passed by Congress in 2002. 

"We hold the 2002 McCain-Feingold legislation to be one of the greatest legislative assaults on the First Amendment ever passed by Congress," the letter reads.  "Just as we opposed that legislation, so too do we oppose any further restrictions on political speech." 

The groups represented on the letter also pointed to McCain's seeming unwillingness to limit his own speech by campaigning within the Presidential public financing system as he seeks the 2008 GOP nomination. 

"We find it troubling that you would introduce and advocate new speech-stifling legislation at a time when it appears that your presidential campaign is willing to forego similar limitations in favor of your political aspirations," the letter reads.   "To be clear, as a matter of principle we consider it fundamentally improper for taxpayer dollars – even if voluntary – to be used to subsidize political campaigns.  As you seek, however, to further suppress the voices of the American people at times when it's most important for them to speak – during elections – we remain curious as to why you haven't committed to applying similar speech limitations to your own campaign," the letter continues.      

"In John McCain's world, what's good for the goose is apparently not good for the gander," said CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella.  "While Senator McCain continues his assault on the free speech and association rights of the American people, Candidate McCain refuses to limit his own ability to speak as he seeks the Republican nomination.

"With McCain's stated intentions to further muzzle the voices of the American people, it is clear that the only person he wishes to speak is himself," Mazzella continued. "So much for 'We the People.'  John McCain might as well change his campaign slogan from 'Straight Talk Express' to 'Do as I say, not as I do.'"

The letter to Senator McCain was signed by representatives of 18 organizations on behalf of millions of grassroots Americans across the United States.  In addition to the Center for Individual Freedom, groups represented on the letter include: American Conservative Union, James Madison Center for Free Speech, Citizens United, The National Center for Public Policy Research, Institute for Liberty, Citizen Outreach Project, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, RightMarch.com, JunkScience.com, Americans for Prosperity – Texas, GrassTopsUSA, Taxpayers League of Minnesota, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Frontiers for Freedom, Liberty Coalition, GrassrootsFreedom.com and Conservative HQ. 

The Center for Individual Freedom (www.cfif.org) is a Constitutional and free-market advocacy organization based in Alexandria, Virginia.  With more than 250,000 supporters and activists nationwide, CFIF has been a consistent advocate for preserving the free speech and association rights of all Americans.  CFIF was a plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case McConnell v. FEC, which challenged the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly referred to as "McCain-Feingold."   More recently, CFIF won an important First Amendment victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that Louisiana's campaign finance law does not restrict or regulate independent political issue advertising.  CFIF has also launched a blog focused on Senator McCain's refusal to "talk straight" with the American people about his intentions to campaign for President within the public financing system.  The blog can be seen at www.u-turnexpress.com.

[Posted February 13, 2007
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