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CIF Among Two Dozen Groups and Individuals to Join McConnell Legal Challenge to "Campaign Finance Reform"

At a Capitol Hill press conference on April 10, CIF joined two dozen organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum to announce their participation as plaintiffs in Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) legal challenge (McConnell v. FEC) to the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act.

The Southeastern Legal Foundation and Judge Kenneth Starr, a lead attorney on McConnell’s distinguished legal team, will represent CIF, U.S. Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), 60 Plus Association, National Right to Work Committee and ProEnglish in the landmark case. The James Madison Center for Free Speech General Counsel James Bopp will represent 14 of the 24 plaintiffs to be added to the lawsuit -- including, among others, U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), The Christian Coalition of America, Club for Growth, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor and the Libertarian National Committee. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also signed on. According to McConnell attorney Floyd Abrams, "You can comfortably expect that in the next two or three weeks there will be more plaintiffs challenging this legislation."

McConnell opened the event by saying, "Today, in this room, where constitutionally-guaranteed American political freedoms are concerned, there is no ideological divide. There is no special interest. There is only one interest: Freedom.

"We wage this constitutional battle to protect for all Americans the freedom to speak out freely on issues and elections, to exercise their First Amendment right to petition their government for a redress of grievances and to associate freely with like-minded people to advance shared values and concerns. These freedoms are the core of American democracy. Their defense is the mission of this coalition," McConnell concluded.

CIF has long maintained that the so-called "campaign finance reform" law strikes a vicious blow at the heart of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The fundamental free speech rights of individuals to engage in the political process, both independently and collectively, are vital and necessary to the continued strength of our democracy.

"We are honored to be here today to stand beside this distinguished group of individuals and associations with whom we share a common goal of protecting the Constitution from what can best be described as the most extensive and insidious assault on political speech ever ventured in this country," according to a prepared statement by CIF Executive Director Eric Schippers. "We’re asking the court to reinstate the constitutional principles which the politicians and the media supporting this law have abandoned."

To read the full text of CIF’s statement, click here.
To read the amended complaint, click here.

[Posted April 11, 2002]