Opinion

The Democrats’ campaign finance reform hypocrisy

Photo of David Bossie
David Bossie
President, Citizens United
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      David Bossie

      David N. Bossie is the president of Citizens United and Citizens United Productions, and the executive producer of “America at Risk.”

      Bossie is the former chief investigator for the United States House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. During Bill Clinton’s two terms as president, he led investigations ranging from the Whitewater land deal to the transfer of dual-use technology to China and to foreign fundraising in the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign.

      As president of Citizens United Productions, Bossie has produced 11 documentaries since 2004, including the award winning Border War: The Battle over Illegal Immigration, Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60 with Ron Silver, and Perfect Valor, a documentary narrated by Senator Fred Thompson about the service and sacrifices of our troops in Iraq.

      Born in Boston, Bossie attended the University of Maryland. He has proudly served for the last 19 years as a volunteer firefighter in Montgomery County, Maryland, where he resides with his wife, Susan, and their three children; Isabella, Griffin and Lily Campbell.

As President Obama and the national Democrat establishment gear up for their billion-dollar-plus 2012 election campaign, insiders connected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are hatching plans to protect the tenuous Senate Democrat majority. These Reid insiders are forming a “super” political action committee, called Majority PAC, to raise unlimited money in order to go on the offensive in Senate races across the country. Reid’s people are within their rights to form the PAC, thanks to the Citizens United v. FEC victory at the United States Supreme Court last year. Now all Americans are free to utilize their free speech rights in this way. However, because the entire Democrat Party machinery was against this landmark decision last year, this blatant reversal reeks of hypocrisy. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid spent an inordinate amount of time attacking the decision and trying to defeat it through legislative means; meanwhile they lost their majority in the House and now have a fading majority in the Senate.

In the days after the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United’s favor, President Obama verbally assaulted the Supreme Court justices for their decision at the State of the Union. President Obama said, “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.” This unseemly attack on the few people in the chamber who could not respond and defend themselves exposed the president’s true character.

In addition to his outburst during the State of the Union, President Obama made it a daily habit to bash the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision. From his weekly radio addresses to speeches on the stump, President Obama seemed obsessed with casting sinister aspersions on the decision. In one instance he ominously said, “But this summer, they’re also seeing a flood of attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names.” I wonder if President Obama will be making those same kinds of statements about the Democrat super PACs that will come to his defense in 2012 when his own name is on the ballot.

In an attempt to undercut the high court’s Citizens United decision, the entire Democrat caucus in the Senate voted to pass the deceptively named DISCLOSE Act twice last year. The DISCLOSE Act was not about meaningful campaign finance reform, but was an unconstitutional incumbent protection act that sought to limit free speech. In drafting the bill, the Democrat Party’s leadership played politics with the First Amendment by providing unfair carve-outs to special interest groups. Thankfully, Harry Reid failed to push it through and another disastrous infringement on our constitutional rights was avoided. With the formation of their own “super PAC,” Senate Democrats won’t have a leg to stand on if they continue to try to attack the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, and I expect any further discussion of the DISCLOSE Act to quietly disappear.

President Obama, who took such great pleasure in condemning “shadowy” groups for exercising their First Amendment right to criticize public officials in the 2010 cycle, will benefit greatly from the attack ads that will be run through the Majority PAC. With the recent hemorrhage of West Wing staffers, I would venture to say that more liberal super PACs will conveniently begin popping up to support President Obama and the Democrat Party in the coming months.

Citizens United was a great victory for free speech and I am sure President Obama and his Democrat friends will take full advantage of it in the 2012 cycle, as is their right. It is just hypocritical that when President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi were facing historic defeats in the 2010 elections, they claimed the decision would end our democratic way of life. Now that they see an opportunity to utilize it for the 2012 race, I’m sure our case will suddenly become as American as apple pie.

David N. Bossie is the president of Citizens United and Citizens United Productions, and the executive producer of “America at Risk.”

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  • Sam Brasel

    Jamison Foser:

    David Bossie has no idea what the word “hypocrisy” means:

    [...] That isn’t hypocrisy. If someone said no one should form such a PAC, even if it’s legal, then that person turned around and formed one, that might be considered hypocrisy. Or if David Bossie were to say “I would never distribute doctored transcripts in an effort to mislead the nation about my political opponents and you shouldn’t either,” after having done exactly that, he would be guilty of hypocrisy. But saying “we don’t think this campaign tactic should be legal, but as long as it is, we’re going to use it” isn’t hypocrisy. It’s merely a refusal to unilaterally disarm.

    And that’s what Bossie is suggesting Democrats must do in order to avoid being hypocrites: Unilaterally disarm. By Bossie’s logic, campaign finance reformers should never employ legal campaign finance tactics they think should not be legal. That, of course, would severely disadvantage those reformers electorally, and thus make the prospect of reform unlikely.

    Bossie’s position is like saying that if a nation advocates a worldwide ban on the development of new nuclear weapons, it is a hypocrite unless it unilaterally stops developing such weapons while its enemies continue to do so. It just doesn’t make any sense, and it just isn’t what the word hypocrisy means.