President Obama's lawyer Bob Bauer, on his blog, defends Commissioner Weintraub, criticizes Commissioner Goodman, and brushes off as inconsequential Fox News' profound free press rights. He acknowledges that Commissioner Weintraub voted to find Fox News violated the law for engaging in legitimate, wholly constructive press activity. But he defends Commissioner Weintraub on the theory that outlawing -- even technically -- press activity is more important in this case than disrupting the prestige and decorum at the FEC. What a profoundly disturbing suggestion by one generally regarded as a civil libertarian who represents the First Amendment rights of oppressed political actors before the government.
More troubling, Mr. Bauer completely ignores the fact that two Commissioners voted to actually PUNISH (Mr. Bauer places this word in quotation marks as if to question the accuracy of the suggestion) Fox News in this case. What? No discussion of that remarkable action by two Commissioners? Ignoring the votes won't diminish the dramatic chilling impact on free press rights, Mr. Bauer.
Why such a blithe treatment of press rights by First Amendment lawyer Bob Bauer? Could it be this case is about Fox News? Mr. Bauer, former White House Counsel, is married to Anita Dunn, instigator of the White House's war against Fox News several years ago. That might explain why in this case decorum at the FEC matters more than free press rights.