By winning control of the House, Senate, and White House in 2020, Democrats created an opportunity to make it easier for them to win in the future and harder for anyone to criticize them. Their first order of business, which House Democrats call the “For the People Act,” is largely an exercise in taking the worst election laws in some of the worst-governed states and imposing them on the entire country.
The bill has passed the House, and plenty of worked-up activists (including much of the media and the still-Never Trump establishment) think Democrats should abolish the filibuster to pass it through the Senate.
H.R. 1 would override state election laws and impose all sorts of mandates, including automatically registering adults to vote, even if they don’t want to register. Democrats passed the For the People Act in 2019, too, but the newest version has some new ideas that they apparently gleaned from the 2020 election.
The bill would bar states from even requiring that identification be provided as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot.
With these and other provisions, H.R. 1 would nationalize the administration of elections. And it goes even further in nationalizing other bad ideas.
The Democrats’ bill aims to normalize ballot harvesting by striking down any state safeguards against the practice. Yes, some states’ anti-ballot-harvesting laws might accidentally criminalize innocent activity, such as letting Joey run your mail-in ballot up to the mailbox. But if we really believe the vote is sacred, basic safeguards against coercion, fraud, and bullying are necessary.
Taking up Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s “dark money” obsession, the bill requires corporations, unions, trade associations, and other advocacy groups to disclose campaign-related expenditures over $10,000, as well as the donors who fund them. That would function as a clear deterrent to constitutionally protected political speech and association.
California has a law like this, and it’s a bad law, aimed at curbing criticism of politicians. Groups as ideologically divergent as Citizens United (yes, that Citizens United) and the American Civil Liberties Union are lobbying the Supreme Court to strike down California’s mandate.
Why would you want to impose this disclosure burden on groups that might criticize a politician or simply express a political opinion? We don’t really have to guess. Democrats are known to use the power of elected office to punish political dissenters. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has practically made a career of this, and he is about to be promoted into the Biden administration for it.
As usual, Democrats want to intimidate and silence people whose views they don’t like. They also want to deputize Big Business to do it for them — as when they demanded that Amazon deplatform Parler and Twitter deplatform former President Donald Trump. Now, Democrats are pressuring AT&T to drop Fox News.
Democrats know that with forced disclosure, they can scare any businesses or individuals out of funding groups that oppose the Democrats’ aims or criticize them.
The bill also nationalizes another bad state-level policy: the politics tax. H.R. 1 would establish the taxpayer funding of political campaigns — and you can be forgiven for reading that as welfare for the political consultant swamp-class. The House bill tries to cover up the fact that the money ultimately comes from taxpayers by claiming that it comes from criminal and civil penalties on corporations and rich people. But money is fungible. And whenever politicians lack the courage to admit they are funding their proposals through tax dollars, you know they’re ashamed of it.
Coercing voters by normalizing ballot harvesting, coercing donors through forced disclosure, and forcibly funding politicians and their consultants — one wonders why Democrats believe more in coercion than in freedom and debate.
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds • USAToday
Federal law makes it a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”
I wonder if U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have read this federal statute. Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with. They should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241, I am sure they each have it somewhere in their offices.
Here’s what’s happened so far. First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is. Continue reading
By Jennifer G. Hickey • Fox News
Democratic officials’ campaign against fossil fuel companies is entering a new phase as state attorneys general launch investigations that mirror the Justice Department’s landmark case against “Big Tobacco,” probing claims that oil companies misled the public about the risks of global warming — a charge industry representatives adamantly reject.
Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands are the latest to announce probes, specifically into whether ExxonMobil was up-front regarding what it knew about climate change.
“Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be held accountable. That’s why we have joined in investigating ExxonMobil,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in announcing the inquiry. Continue reading
By Stephen Dinan • The Washington Times
Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said there is strong evidence that the IRS violated the constitutional rights of the groups when it delayed their nonprofit status applications and asked inappropriate questions about their political beliefs.
The agency’s insistence that it has retrained employees and instructed managers to behave better did not mollify the judges, who said past IRS behavior doesn’t lend itself to the benefit of the doubt.
“It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust,” Judge Sentelle said. Continue reading
By The Editors • National Review
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank that has been a loud and trenchant critic of global-warming activism, is under subpoena by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, who demands that the organization produce a decade’s worth of communication on the subject of global warming.
Intending no slight to our friends and CEI and the fine work they do (some of which NRO has published), this isn’t about libertarian exegesis of meteorological data, but rather an attempt to fry up a much, much bigger fish: Exxon. Exxon was, in the past, a substantial donor to CEI; presumably, communication with Exxon is no small part of what the subpoena hopes to uncover.
On March 29, a group of mainly Democratic attorneys general announced at a press conference (with former vice president and green-energy profiteer Al Gore in attendance) that they would seek to transform U.S. policy on climate change by “creatively” and “aggressively” deploying their prosecutorial powers. That, in and of itself, should raise an entire May Day parade’s worth of red flags: Prosecutors are in the business of enforcing the law, not rewriting it, and the open, naked promise to use prosecutorial powers as a political weapon is a prima facie abuse of office. In a self-respecting society, every one of those state attorneys general would have been impeached the next day. But this is the Age of Obama, not the Age of Self-Respect. Continue reading
Agents seized all video footage from his apartment, along with his personal information, David Daleiden said in a Facebook post. Daleiden, the founder of a group called the Center for Medical Progress, said agents left behind documents that he contends implicate Planned Parenthood in illegal behavior related to the handling of fetal tissue.
Center for Medical Progress spokesman Peter Robbio confirmed the social media posting is authentic, but he declined further comment. He said Daleiden lives in Orange County. Continue reading
by Hans von Spakovsky • The Daily Signal
In news that should shock and anger Americans, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against so-called “climate change deniers,” but she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”
Lynch was responding to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who urged Lynch to prosecute those who “pretend that the science of carbon emissions’ dangers is unsettled,” particularly those in the “fossil fuel industry” who supposedly have constructed a “climate denial apparatus.”
Lynch is apparently following in the footsteps of California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, both of whom have opened up investigations of ExxonMobil for allegedly lying to the public and their shareholders about climate change. Continue reading
Proposed reg would punish schools for ‘egregious or persistent disregard’ for sodium limits
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a proposed rule Monday to codify parts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama.
The regulation would punish schools and state departments with fines for “egregious or persistent disregard” for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits and banned white grains. Continue reading
Obama is annoyed with ISIS, but angry with Americans.
by Michael Barone • National Review
Three days after the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans were primed to hear their president express heartfelt anger, which he did in his press conference in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of the G-20 summit. And they did hear him describe ISIS as “this barbaric terrorist organization” and acknowledge that the “terrible events in Paris were a terrible and sickening setback.”
But what really got him angry, as the transcript and video make clear, were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against ISIS; Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq; and critics of his decision to allow 10,000 Syrians into the United States. Continue reading