March 10, 2014

Trampling the First Amendment

Will on IRS, FEC.

George Will: “The idea that politicians should write laws restricting people critical of them is as perverse as the idea that the sprawling, opaque IRS bureaucracy should be assigned to construe and apply such laws. It is bad enough that there is the misbegotten Federal Election Commission to do what the First Amendment forbids – government regulation of the quantity, content and timing of political speech. This column has previously noted that in 1996 a Republican Senate candidate called the FEC to dispute campaign finance charges made by Democrats. The head of the FEC’s enforcement division told the Republican: ‘Promise me you will never run for office again, and we will drop this case.’ So spoke Lois Lerner. There almost certainly are people, above her and beyond the IRS, who initiated or approved the IRS’ punitive targeting of conservative groups, and who hope Lerner’s history of aggressive partisanship will cause investigators to conclude that she is as high as responsibility for the targeting rises. Those people should hire criminal defense attorneys.”

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