May 2, 2015
Consider — really consider — how bold the drafters of the First Amendment must have been, to thrust a new nation into the hitherto entirely uncharted waters of unrestrained free speech. Certainly, among the Founding Fathers there must have been someone concerned with the havoc wrought upon government and society by these radical notion of freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom on conscience. Yet there were no “if”s or “but”s in the First Amendment; it was written in absolutist terms.
Thus, it is interesting to see in today’s New York Times that some are complaining that “its the wild west” in terms of enforcement of campaign finance laws by the Federal Elections Commission. Read it here. That is entirely consistent with the First Amendment, isn’t it?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had a case pending before the FEC for now 43 months (not a typo) awaiting a decision. The agency should be embarrassed that it can’t reach a decision in even that ridiculous timeframe on an essentially agreed set of facts.
But the big picture that the FEC has stopped interfering in elections seems to us possibly consistent with the “Spirit of ’76.”