Echoing CFIF, today's Wall Street Journal board editorial applauds Federal Communications Commission…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
WSJ Applauds FCC Chairman Pai, Commissioner Carr in Support of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Echoing CFIF, today's Wall Street Journal board editorial applauds Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai's and Commissioner Brendan Carr's expressions of support for the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger:

By joining forces, T-Mobile and Sprint will be better positioned to compete against wireless leaders Verizon and AT&T in the 5G era.   Sprint is sitting on loads of mid-band spectrum that boosts wireless speeds while T-Mobile boasts ample low-band spectrum that provides coverage.  The combination is likely to provide a faster, denser network."

As they rightly conclude, "government penalties pale next to the powerful market incentives that already exist for Sprint and T-Mobile to rapidly build out their networks lest they lose market share to Verizon, AT&T, cable…[more]

May 21, 2019 • 11:36 am

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Citizens United Critics' Predictions Have Fallen Flat Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 19 2017
All told, only one of the top 40 contributors to super PACs in 2016 was a corporation, whereas eight labor unions were among that group.

Critics of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision were always wrong on the legal merits. 

Now, after nearly a decade and several election cycles to assess its impact, critics have proven equally inept in predicting the decision's practical effects. 

Regarding the legal merits, the First Amendment commands, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

As with any other constitutional right, those rights obviously aren't absolute.  Defamation laws, for instance, remain valid despite the First Amendment.  Similarly, prohibitions against private possession of nuclear weaponry remain valid despite the Second Amendment, and warrantless police searches and seizures remain valid in many circumstances despite the Fourth Amendment. 

Nevertheless, the First Amendment's unambiguous terms set a high bar against any proposed restriction.  Anyone advocating limitation of its enumerated freedoms must carry an extremely heavy burden of proof to sustain their proposed restrictions. 

In the case of Citizens United, as with so-called "campaign finance reform" laws generally, that burden simply wasn't anywhere close to being met.  The question presented in that case was whether the government could prohibit a conservative nonprofit organization from airing a short film critical of candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primary race. 

That's precisely the type of political speech that our Founding Fathers sought to protect in ratifying the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court correctly held the prohibition unconstitutional. 

The predictable jeremiads and lamentations were immediate.  Those who prefer a mainstream media monopoly on political discourse agreed with The New York Times editorial that corporations would suddenly "use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections." 

Barack Obamaa former constitutional law professoreven stooped to crudely misstating the Citizens United holding to a worldwide audience in his State of the Union address: 

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.  Well, I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. 

That was flatly incorrect.  Federal law banned, and still bans, foreign nationals from donating to any U.S. political party, spending in connection with any election in the U.S., subsidizing any electioneering communication or contributing to a candidate. 

And now, we can test critics' predictions of corporate takeover of the nation's elections against several cycles of accumulated data.  Unsurprisingly, their doomsday assurances proved just as defective as their legal arguments. 

Even setting aside the 2012 election cycle because it came so soon after Citizens United, the 2016 cycle tells a very different tale than the one predicted by the decision's antagonists. 

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, so-called "super PACs" raised a total of $1.8 billion for the 2016 elections.  Of that amount, $1 billion, or approximately 55%, came from individual donors.  Just $242 million - less than one-sixth - came from nonprofit organizations, trade associations and labor unions. 

And what about actual business corporations?  All of them added together only accounted for $85 million. 

To put that in perspective, leftist billionaire and environmental activist Thomas Steyer alone donated $89.5 million to super PACs in the 2016 cycle, more than any other group or individual.  Somehow that hasn't interrupted his ongoing assaults against Citizens United, hypocritically telling PBS, "We felt from the beginning that Citizens United was a mistake, that the way money is used in American campaigns isn't good for democracy." 

Makes perfect sense. 

Placing fifth on the list of largest political donors was an organization named "NextGen Climate Action," which accounted for $33 million of PAC donations, and leftist Priorities USA action right behind at $26 million.  Placing tenth in the list of top super PAC donors was former New York City mayor and all-around lifestyle scold Michael Bloomberg at $24 million, just behind the National Education Association teachers' union and just ahead of the activist Service Employees International Union. 

All told, only one of the top 40 contributors to super PACs in 2016 was a corporation, whereas eight labor unions were among that group. 

And here's another dirty little secret that labor unions don't want you to know:  They donate approximately 95% of their political contributions to Democrats, whereas corporations tend to split closer to 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans. 

This accumulation of inconvenient facts likely won't end leftists' ongoing attacks against Citizens United, which merely respected the First Amendment's prohibition against government censorship of private political speech, and weakened the mainstream media domination of electoral discourse.  But nobody should maintain any illusion that critics' predictions were any more credible than their legal arguments. 

Question of the Week   
Americans are asked to observe a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. annually on which one of the following days?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"President Donald Trump has directed the heads of several government agencies to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr's investigation of the origins of the Russia probe.In a memo sent out Thursday, Trump also authorized Barr to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation.The memo grants Barr the authority to 'declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading…[more]
 
 
—Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller
— Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller
 
Liberty Poll   

Is President Trump right or wrong to curtail negotiations on infrastructure planning until Congress stops its myriad investigations of the president?