NATIONAL GROUP GEARS UP AGAINST STATE LAWMAKERS OVER THEIR SUPPORT FOR BILL REGULATING POLITICAL SPEECH
Forget the gas tax …
Two bills seeking to dramatically redefine – and regulate – political speech in South Carolina have become the top targets of a prominent national issues advocacy organization.
And other nationals groups may join in the fray …
Multiple Palmetto State lawmakers tell us the group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) – which has previously fought against the gas tax in the Palmetto State – is preparing a “major push” against a so-called “transparency” bill being pushed by powerful S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman.
“I think defeating the dark money bill is going to be more important to them than defeating the gas tax increase,” one lawmaker who has engaged in discussions with the group told us.
Leatherman’s bill – S. 255 – calls for a host of new definitions and reporting requirements on political speech, beginning with the establishment of a broad new standard for so-called “independent expenditure committees” and the various types of communications in which they are engaged. The legislation would also require these newly-designated committees to file quarterly reports disclosing their donors, expenditures and other information with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC).
In other words it gives lawmakers an opportunity to take revenge on their critics – which, it’s been our experience, is an extremely effective way to silence criticism. The legislation may also run afoul of the U.S. Constitution – as previous attempts to regulate political speech have done.
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We blasted Leatherman’s bill – and its House counterpart.
“(The bills) purpose is simple,” we wrote. “To suppress criticism of public officials by giving them the tools they need to retaliate against their critics.”
Not only that, we recently busted Leatherman in a “dark money” scandal of his own – one that several South Carolina Senators are now asking questions about.
So yeah … we guess dark money is okay with state lawmakers when they are using it to ramp up government spending and borrowing in pursuit of the same old crappy outcomes.
We have no idea what AFP plans to focus on during the current session of the S.C. General Assembly. We reached out to one of the group’s Palmetto State operatives, but they declined to comment for our story.
Whatever priorities the group wishes to focus on, that’s up to them. When and where they have advanced positions we believe to be in keeping with advancing prosperity for the citizens and taxpayers of South Carolina, we have supported them.
And when and where we believe they have been on the wrong side of particular fights, we’ve called them out.
If they get involved in this fight, though, they will be battling two bills that deserve to be defeated. And we will support them 100 percent in their efforts to do so – along with any other groups that decide to get involved in this fight for free speech.
(Banner via iStock)