Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Censorship ... err ... campaign finance reform strikes again

George Will tells the unpleasant tale of neighborhood activists in Colorado who were brought up short by modern America's limits on "acceptable" political speech.

Parker North is a cluster of about 300 houses close to the town of Parker. When two residents proposed a vote on annexation of their subdivision to Parker, six others began trying to persuade the rest to oppose annexation. They printed lawn signs and fliers, started an online discussion group and canvassed neighbors, little knowing that they were provoking Colorado's speech police.

One proponent of annexation sued them. This tactic -- wielding campaign finance regulations to suppress opponents' speech -- is common in the America of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. The complaint did not just threaten the Parker Six for any "illegal activities." It also said that anyone who had contacted them or received a lawn sign might be subjected to "investigation, scrutinization and sanctions for campaign finance violations."

Fortunately, the targets of the attempted muzzling have found an ally in the always excellent Institute for Justice. They, and IJ, are suing to overturn Colorado's burdensome laws limiting free speech.



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