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Campaign against speech: Making inroads in NH


The organized assault on your free speech rights is under way.

During town meeting, some New Hampshire towns approved articles asking Congress for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The ruling clarified that spending on political speech is protected by the First Amendment.

These town articles were the work of Washington, D.C.-based activist group Public Citizen. The Democratic leadership in the New Hampshire House, which officially opposes bills based on templates from out-of-state organizations, did not oppose these warrant articles, which were placed on ballots "due to the work of Public Citizen activists and our allies," according to a statement from Public Citizen organizer Jonah Minkoff-Zern.

In fact, the state Senate is to vote this week on a Public Citizen-promoted bill to create a commission to study amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. It is at least the fifth bill Democrats have introduced to go after Citizens United at the urging of Public Citizen. These are precisely the sort of bills driven by out-of-state interest groups that N.H. Democrats claim to oppose.

The resolutions supposedly promote free speech, but really do the opposite. Prohibiting citizens from speaking in a collective voice through their own organizations does not "take money out of politics." It channels that money to Washington. Instead of buying ads to persuade the public, people who want to change government will have to either give directly to politicians and political parties or hire lobbyists to speak to those politicians in Washington. Overturning Citizens United would empower politicians and lobbyists, not the people. No wonder those who favor a powerful central government hate Citizens United.

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