A couple weeks ago we posted a blog on Lee Goodman and his passion for protecting the First Amendment. That blog closed with the following:
Regulation of speech is rarely a good thing and even more rarely does it help to provide any feasible solutions to actual problems. As Goodman pointed out, this is what separates the United States from other “totalitarian regimes.” As the assault on First Amendment continues, it has become clear that we need voices like Goodman’s to speak out against those who seek to silence the speech and ideas of others, lest we allow ourselves to develop into one of those totalitarian regimes.
Goodman knew and understood this fact better than most. It became his purpose at the FEC. We should all strive to cling to it so dearly. Goodman’s passion and belief in this idea is easily conveyed and received when you listen to him speak.
[. . . ] the so called pejorative dark money debate is an effort by those who want to regulate more speech to use the power of government to reach further into issue advocacy and the private associational rights of issue advocacy organizations to disclose all of their members and donors when they engage in issue advocacy.
[. . . ] In 2012 cycle, 7.3 billion dollars in electoral expenditures were publicly disclosed through the Federal Election Commission. About three to four percent of that total was spent by issue advocacy groups that disclosed their expenditures but did not disclose who their members and donors were because that was part of their freedom of association.
Isn’t it far preferable to let that speech be heard and let that speech be debated on the merits rather than vilifying the speakers and trying to push people out of the public square? [. . .]
As time has continued to pass, many have come to realize just how substantial and systematic the attacks on First Amendment have become. Both Democratic presidential candidates have attacked the Citizens United decision. Both have stated that they will only appoint a Justice who passes a litmus test for overturning it despite ABA regulations that require the exact opposite. They have plans to pursue whatever means necessary to strip freedom of speech from this country. Goodman knew, even back in 2014, that this issue would continue to perpetuate attacks on our freedom. And so, I leave you with his closing.
[. . .] The line between free speech and censorship is a very fine and fragile and delicate line. And you have one seat on the Supreme Court and one seat on a six member Federal Election Commission holding their fingers in the dyke to protect free speech rights against an over intrusive government. As for me, I want to ensure all of you liberty minded people that I will always be guided by the Constitution and I will always err on the side of freedom.
If that message did not convey the warning clearly enough, remember that since his address, we have lost that seat on the Supreme Court and the attacks on freedom of speech have become more frequent and severe from no less than the left’s Presidential hopefuls. This election cycle is crucial to protecting the freedom of speech, not only for this generation but hopefully for the many that will follow.
Thank you, Lee Goodman, for everything you have done.