Video: Interview with Sen. Mitch McConnell on campaign finance reform, First Amendment
posted at 10:01 am on June 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Later today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will speak to the American Enterprise Institute on a subject that is beginning to rise to the top ranks of media discourse in this presidential election cycle — campaign finance reform. Thanks to the proliferation of super-PACs, massive amounts of money will come into the election from both sides, much of it from undisclosed donors. That has prompted Democrats to push hard for the DISCLOSE Act that would force super-PACs to reveal their donor lists, a move that McConnell says would put the Obama administration to attack and intimidate opponents through the FEC and the IRS — which Obama and his campaign have already tried doing through the media. I spoke with Senator McConnell last night in this podcast:
McConnell doesn’t pull any punches in his attacks on the DISCLOSE Act. He already believes that the Obama administration has acted in a manner “reminiscent of the Nixon administration,” and that the new law would give the White House a hammer to use executive-branch agencies to bully people out of the political process. McConnell notes that the Obama campaign has “already been rummaging through the divorce files of one of the donors to Mitt Romney’s super-PAC,” and that we can expect more of that if the administration gets its hands on a law allowing them to use law-enforcement agencies to chase after donors. And McConnell pointedly notes that one interest group gets an exemption in DISCLOSE: Big Labor.
We also discussed David Axelrod’s claim that Obama and the Democrats would pursue a constitutional amendment to impose campaign-finance reform — in effect, amending the First Amendment to unprotect political speech. Both of us scoff at the likelihood of such an effort succeeding, but that shows the “radical” nature of Obama and his team, and how out of touch they are with the mainstream of American thought. I point out in the interview that Obama has already tried a de facto amendment to the First Amendment with the HHS mandate on contraception, arrogating to himself and Kathleen Sebelius the authority to decide what constitutes religious expression specifically in order to limit it.