PHILLIPS: Obama’s ironic attack on free speech


With the country broadly rejecting President Obama’s agenda and grass-roots citizens across the nation uniting in search of fiscal responsibility and limited government, the president is on the offensive. He is leveling a series of false attacks in an attempt to undermine Americans for Prosperity (AFP). However, on this issue, our constitutional-lawyer-in-chief needs some correction.

In a series of fundraising speeches for Democratic candidates, Mr. Obama has stated repeatedly that because of Citizens United, “there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates, and they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company or a big bank.” Unfortunately for him, the president’s attack gets both the facts and the law wrong.

The landmark decision in Citizens United v. FCC held that corporations and unions cannot be barred from using general treasury funds to advocate expressly for or against the election of a candidate. The case is a huge free-speech victory, and it explicitly rejects the idea that “in the context of political speech, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers.” The decision frees for-profit corporations, nonprofits and labor unions to rejoin the rest of the country in expressing their views about candidates for office.

However, Mr. Obama habitually has misrepresented Citizens United. It started at the State of the Union address, when he oddly stated that the case would allow foreign corporations to influence American elections. This is false; foreign nationals and foreign corporations were not affected by Citizens United and are still banned from making independent political expenditures.

Read More: By Tim Phillips, The Washington Times


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