Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that President Barack Obama is seeking to change the First Amendment to keep corporate money out of political campaigns.
“Democrats in the House and Senate recently proposed the so-called, ‘People’s Rights Amendment’ which basically repeals the First Amendment and just this week, citing Citizens United, the president’s top political adviser — this is not some back-bench member of the House of Representatives — the president’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, told an audience in Manhattan that, quote, ‘When we win, we will use whatever tools are out there, including a constitutional amendment, to turn it back,’” McConnell said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Friday.
“This, my friends, is all you need to know about this administration’s view of free speech. The courts have said that Congress doesn’t have the authority to muzzle political speech. So the president himself will seek to go around it by attempting to change the First Amendment. Amending the First Amendment for the first time in history is an act of radicalism — an act of radicalism.”
The People’s Rights Amendment would “regulate corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.”
“The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution,” the proposed amendment says.
McConnell defended the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which is often criticized by the Obama administration and congressional Democrats. (RELATED: Senate Democrats propose to amend Constitution to keep corporate money out of campaigns)
“The attacks on speech are legion. Perhaps the most prominent is the so-called DISCLOSE Act,” McConnell said. “This is the Democrats’ legislative response to Citizens United, in which the Supreme Court correctly ruled that Congress may not ban political speech based on the identity of the speaker.”
“The DISCLOSE Act aims to get around this ruling by compelling certain targeted groups to disclose the names of their donors, while excluding others, such as unions, from doing the same.”
He continued, “If disclosure is forced upon some but not all, it’s not an act of good government; it’s a political weapon and that’s precisely what those who are pushing this legislation have in mind. This is nothing less than an effort by the government itself to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies and that should concern every one of us.”