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Entries in Free Speech (123)


ALG - Senate Democrats to take up First Amendment bastardization 


Sept. 8, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement in opposition to S.J. Res. 19 offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would repeal and replace the First Amendment, currently up for debate in the U.S. Senate: 

"Senate Democrats are taking up legislation that would abolish the freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and in the process empower Congress and the states to regulate the amount of money that may be spent in elections. If passed, the net result will simply be less speech against incumbent politicians, hardly a free and democratic outcome. Why would Congress want to restrict access to information about opposition candidates during election time? This is fascism, pure and simple. 

"In the meantime, Democrats seek to carve out an exception for mainstream media outlets including broadcasting stations, newspapers, magazines, and other periodical publications by saying nothing in the amendment will be construed to abridge the freedom of the press. The trouble here is that the freedom of the press is not an institutional right retained by some amorphous press corps, but a right of individuals to print what they like. 

"This bastardization of the First Amendment must not be allowed to pass. Every single Senator should block cloture, and defend every American's right to the freedom of speech and of the press. It's hard enough to oust incumbent, entrenched, establishment politicians. They do not need the force of law to squelch opposition, and it is sickening they would even try."


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Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at


ALG - Fascism in the First Amendment? 


Sept. 9, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds and cartoons granted.

Fascism in the First Amendment?
Democrats propose to repeal and replace free speech in elections.

Cartoon: Reality Check

Pearlstein is right, time to end corporate welfare
Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein: "If the government has no place insuring export loans, then surely it also has no place providing subsidized crop insurance to farmers." Good point.

Gross: Radical shift of power proposed at ICANN putting govts in primary decision making role
"Why ICANN would voluntarily choose to empower non-democratic governments with an even greater say over global Internet policies as this bylaws change would do is anyone's guess."


Franklin Center - Free speech won a major victory  


Dear Friend,

More than a year ago, a company founded by Terry McAuliffe – the Clintons’ former chief fundraiser and now the governor of Virginia – slapped the Franklin Center with an $85 million libel lawsuit.

I wanted you to be among the first to know – yesterday, a federal judge in Mississippi threw out the entire lawsuit.

Our investigation into GreenTech Automotive and into McAuliffe’s role with the company, which he used to launch his candidacy for governor, started when one of our reporters found that, while the company didn’t seem to be producing many cars, it was soliciting investments through a controversial federal program called EB-5. The EB-5 program offers any foreign national who invests $500,000 in a U.S. company a green card. The program has been rife with problems – and appeared to be one of GreenTech’s main funding sources.

The lawsuit filed against us – one of the largest libel suits in American history – was nothing less than an attempt to shut us down for telling the truth. But we decided to fight back, to defend ourselves, and most importantly, to keep digging. Altogether we produced more than 90 stories examining McAuliffe’s connections to GreenTech from every possible angle.

This is all too often how the progressive establishment operates. Rather than engaging their opponents in a battle of ideas, seeking to win on merit, they use the legal system and other bullying tactics to shut their opponents down. This time, however, we were able to to fight back on behalf of all of those whom the system has tried to silence.

We’re sure there will be many more battles like this to come. Even as I write, one of our reporters is fighting Gov. McAuliffe’s office for answers on the immigration crisis – going so far as to camp out on the floor, just outside his office, waiting to confront him and demand the information that taxpaying citizens are clamoring for and deserve. And GreenTech may even appeal the court’s order dismissing its baseless lawsuit. Will you considering supporting us in the hard, ongoing work of investigative journalism?

Thank you so much for your loyal support and readership. Because of you, the cause of free speech won a major victory against the powerful, moneyed progressive establishment. Please know that you have the gratitude of the entire Franklin Center staff.
Best regards,

Jason Stverak
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity


Franklin Center - Citizen journalism shines during Sunshine Week 

Citizen journalism shines during Sunshine Week

The Franklin Center’s citizen watchdog initiative, Watchdog Wire, recently observed Sunshine Week, a nationwide event all about two of the most important building blocks of good government: transparency and accountability.

“Sunshine Week is important because it raises awareness of our increasingly opaque government, and also shows citizens ways that they can help fight to maintain an open, accountable political system on all levels of government,” says Rachel Swaffer, Outreach Associate for Citizen Watchdog.

See what our citizen watchdogs accomplished during Sunshine Week Takes Home Six Awards at the Virginia Press Association’s Annual Conference

Alexandria, Va.– Two reporters from’s Virginia Bureau won six awards–including two for first place–in the 2013 News/Editorial and Advertising Contest for the Virginia Press Association (VPA) on Saturday.

Read more here

A Note From Our President

Dear Reader,

While most offices were observing March Madness, our team of journalists observed Sunshine Week, a nationwide celebration of government transparency and accountability. On the ground across the country, Watchdog Wire's citizen journalists used open records laws, archives, and state and local government websites to cast light on the dark corners of government. We're committed to helping make citizens more aware of the tools they have in front of them to hold government accountable - because tyranny has no greater enemy than an informed and engaged citizenry.

Best regards,

Jason Stverak
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity

P.S. If you would like to help us keep up the fight for a free press, you can donate here!

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Public Citizen - Hollow bill passes in Granite State Senate 

New Hampshire State Senate Moves Forward Hollow Bill, Legislature Needs to Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Today the New Hampshire state Senate defeated proposed language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get corporate money out of politics. Instead they moved forward a hollow bill, SB 307, creating a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

New Hampshire residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

The amended language was voted down 12 to 12 by a near party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all but one Republican – Senator Russell Prescott – voting against.

Thirty-six of the 48 towns that voted to pass a resolution were in Senate Republican districts, showing bipartisan support for a constitutional amendment. Polls have also shown that the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll (PDF), 72 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose the Citizens United ruling (81% Democrats, 70% Independents, 64% Republicans) and 69 percent of New Hampshire residents support a constitutional amendment that limits campaign contributions and spending (75% Democrats, 73% Independents, 61% Republicans). This shows the Republican Senators are out of step with their constituents on this issue.

The bill that was passed today now moves to the New Hampshire House of Representatives for a vote. The House has the opportunity to amend the bill to include the statement that the New Hampshire Legislature recognizes the need for a constitutional amendment – essentially the backbone of the bill. If the House passes a version of this bill including that powerful statement, the bill would then move back to a conference committee.

It is important that the House listens to the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents and pass a version of the bill that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, which would set New Hampshire on the path to becoming the 17th state to calling for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire visit