Politics

Sen. Lee: Obama’s idea to amend Constitution an ‘assault on political speech’ [VIDEO]

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Nicholas Ballasy
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      Nicholas Ballasy

      Nicholas Ballasy is the Senior Video Reporter for The Daily Caller covering Congress and national politics. Ballasy has interviewed a wide range of political leaders and celebrities including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. John McCain, Sen. John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Joan Rivers, Gloria Estefan, Jon Stewart, Dave Matthews, Neil Munro, Stevie Wonder, etc. His work has been featured by CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, The Drudge Report, Washington Post and New York Times, among others.

TAMPA, Fla. — Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee told The Daily Caller that a constitutional amendment — supported by President Barack Obama — to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision would be an “assault on political speech.”

“It would certainly not encounter any support from me. Look, this is a suggestion with which I respectfully but most forcefully disagree. In the first place, we haven’t seen any language of what that would look like but in the second place, there a reason we haven’t seen language,” Lee told TheDC at the Tampa Bay Times Forum during the Republican National Convention.

“What we’re talking about here is a full-throated assault on political speech. There’s absolutely no way to overturn the Citizens United opinion without giving the government power to restrict what the Supreme Court has determined to be core political speech. That’s exactly why the founding fathers put the First Amendment in the Constitution.”

Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have said that the Citizens United decision has allowed corporate money to have too much of an influence on the political process.

Lee disagrees.

“Of course they have a point, it’s just wrong. Look, you can’t look at that and say this justifies giving government the power to restrict core political speech,” Lee told TheDC. 

“You can’t do it because you might dislike somebody’s speech. The answer to speech you don’t like isn’t government restriction on speech. It’s more speech. It’s leaving it open.” (SEE ALSO: Citizens United boss to Obama on amendment to Constitution: ‘Bring it on’)

The proposed Disclose Act would “amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.”

Sen. Lee said this bill tends to “favor one side’s political speech and disfavor another,” specifically the “union side and disfavor everybody else and that isn’t fair.” 

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