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August 29, 2015

Reid, McConnell to Testify at Campaign Finance First Amendment Hearing

 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Next week’s Senate Judiciary hearing on campaign finance and the First Amendment will be getting some extra firepower.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to make a highly unusual appearance, testifying before the Judiciary Committee next week on the issue of political donations and freedom of speech.

The committee announced Saturday that the Nevada Democrat and Kentucky Republican are scheduled to testify on the same panel at Tuesday’s hearing to consider a Constitutional amendment regarding the applicability of the First Amendment’s protections of free speech to campaign spending.

That McConnell would seek to testify should come as no surprise. He’s long been a leading advocate of unmitigated political speech, including money. He once led a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission seeking to nullify the campaign finance overhaul law known as McCain-Feingold.

The most important victory for McConnell’s side of the debate came in the McCutcheon v. FEC decision, in which the Supreme Court stuck down aggregate limits on campaign contributions. Individual contribution limits for individual candidates remain in place, at least for now. The McCutcheon decision followed the January 2010 opinion in Citizens United that removed limits on many independent expenditures.

While McConnell has cheered recent Supreme Court rulings tossing restrictions on political spending, Reid and fellow Democrats have jeered, mounting a new push to amend the Constitution to allow for the sort of campaign finance restrictions that the Supreme Court has invalidated on First Amendment grounds.

“The Court has repeatedly used the First Amendment – not to protect the voices of all Americans, but as an instrument to amplify the voices of billionaires and corporations,” Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement. “Those voices are not the only ones who the Founding Fathers intended the First Amendment to protect. They meant for the First Amendment to protect the voices of all Americans. I look forward to next week’s discussion on this important issue.”

Reid has consistently bashed the efforts wealthy Republicans and conservatives, particularly Charles and David Koch and their affiliated conservative political causes, and there’s no reason to think he will not continue on Tuesday. The hearing is set to take place in a large Hart Office Building hearing room that is particularly friendly to television.

A second panel of witnesses is also on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda, featuring North Carolina State Sen. Floyd B. McKissick Jr., as well as prominent attorney Floyd Abrams and American University law professor Jamie Raskin.

Comments (49)

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  1. masmpg

    May 31, 2014
    12:06 p.m.

    I know they both want the same thing. All the lying hypocrites in DC want is to have their pocket books lined at the expense of freedom and the constitution. I guess bill gates has proven that even a hundred billion dollars is not enough for one person to live their life out. When the country is going to hell in a handbasket and all the liars dream about is their own bank accounts it is time to start firing people in DC!

    • Layla

      May 31, 2014
      1:21 p.m.

      McConnell, one of the wealthiest Members of the Senate, is flexing is muscles because he won his primary. Thank Rove for that. Not to late to vote him OUT, Kentucky. Someone must stop this, on both sides. I’d trust a freshman Senator a lot more than either of these two.

      • masmpg

        June 3, 2014
        2:55 a.m.

        The thing that really upsets me is that Rand endorsed him! He needs to be slapped. When mcconnell asked 6 months ago “should I start impeachment proceedings”? I have been waiting in utter amazement that he hasn’t yet, and no push from Rand Paul either. Rand is becoming a rino. Mcconnell got to him.

        • Jack Everett

          June 3, 2014
          3:25 a.m.

          Rand Paul is a racist, bigot plagiarist of no account!

    • David Markham

      June 2, 2014
      12:08 p.m.

      The interest of the American people has not been on the agenda since 1913 when the banks were privatized.

  2. Layla

    May 31, 2014
    1:17 p.m.

    Representatives for George Soros and T. Boone Pickens declined comment.

    • Jack Everett

      May 31, 2014
      4:39 p.m.

      • Progressive Republican

        May 31, 2014
        6:02 p.m.

        Could you provide a link to the top image?

        • masmpg

          June 3, 2014
          2:59 a.m.

          I doubt that. Either they are admitting being commies, or they have no idea who the John Birch society is why would they have any clue where the link would be.

          • Jack Everett

            June 3, 2014
            3:13 a.m.

            Hey commie Koch sucker see above!

        • Jack Everett

          June 3, 2014
          3:12 a.m.

  3. Jack Everett

    May 31, 2014
    4:37 p.m.

    Money is what has caused our downfall. An amendment will never pass the states at this time or the fascist republican house. This kind of corporatism is what we get for allowing republican cons on the highest court in the land.

  4. YONATAN C

    May 31, 2014
    10:24 p.m.

    THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS HAVE FAILED THE MORE THAN 2.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WITHOUT BENEFITS SINCE LAST DECEMBER. THESE MILLIONS OF FAMILIES HAVE FACED EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE TWO POLITICAL PARTIES HELD THE EXTENSION BILL HOSTAGE IN THE SENATE. THEY CHOSE TO MAKE THE PEOPLE SUFFER RATHER THAN TO COOPERATE FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE PEOPLE. THESE POLITICIANS NEED TO BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE IN THE NEXT ELECTION. THIS SHOULF NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. THESE POLITICIANS ARE A DISGRACE,

  5. Yonatan YONATAN

    June 1, 2014
    12:01 p.m.

    MORE THAN FIVE MONTHS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE MORE THAN 2.6 MILLION OF UNEMPLOYED WORKERS HAVE BEEN WITHOUT AN EXTENSION OF BENEFITS. THE REPUBLICAN SENATE HAS FAILED THESE FAMILIES MISERABLY. WHILE BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES PLAYED “PARTY POLITICS”, MILLIONS HAVE LOSS THEIR HOMES, AND ARE HOMELESS. THE REPUBLICANS LIKE JOHN BOEHNER HAVE HELD THE EXTENSION BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE, FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE, AND HIS PARTY’S AGENDA. WHILE THE SENATE TOOK BREAK AFTER BREAK, FAMILIES WERE BEING FINANCIALLY DESTROYED. MANY MIGHT NEVER FULLY RECOVER. THE REPUBLICANS INTENTIONALLY DELAYED THE VOTE, SO THAT IT WOULD BECOME TOO LATE TO BE PASSED. THESE FAMILIES WILL NOT FORGET THE LACK OF COMPASSION AND OF COMMON DECENCY SHOWN TO THEM. THEY WILL RESPOND IN KIND IN THE COMING ELECTIONS WITH THEIR VOTE.

  6. YONATAN C

    June 1, 2014
    4:07 p.m.

    There are still more than 2.6 MILLION unemployed families, still without an EXTENSION of benefits, since LAST DECEMBER. The politicians have continued to play “party politics”, while families are becoming homeless and hopeless. The republicans have been holding the EXTENSION BILL hostage in the senate, for political leverage, and party agenda. Both party’s have deliberately delayed and postponed the vote until it’s become too late to pass the bill. Their total lack of COMPASSION and COMMON DECENCY is appalling . The extension bill was never in their plans to have passed. This entire situation was a farce on their part. With BILLIONS of tax payer dollars sent to the Ukraine in aid recently, NOTHING has been given to help the unemployed families to recover. Both political parties have been a disappointment and a disgrace. Americans need to VOTE OUT these political parasites from office.

  7. Jazzy

    June 1, 2014
    10:09 p.m.

    Reid, speaking of finance first, what about the EUC battle? Have you moved on to more self-righteous fights? RENEWUI. All I see in this article is you promoting the need for corporations to be allowed to donate unlimited amounts to campaign funds -Is this your idea of Bipartisan supported legislation?

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    June 1, 2014
    10:47 p.m.

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    • Jack Everett

      June 3, 2014
      3:14 a.m.

      Spam

  9. David Dunn

    June 2, 2014
    6:25 p.m.

    McConnell (R-KY) wants the rich to be able to lord it over the less affluent to try and convince them to vote for him and his like-minded feudalistic conservative buddies. To hell with the poor and middle class; to hell with women and children. They’re fair game for the wealthy to exploit.

    • masmpg

      June 3, 2014
      3:03 a.m.

      so does nobama hitlery mccain reid . . . . . virtually every politician is a hypocrite and a liar. Whoever would vote party, well that is why we are here because there are too many partiers! THE PARTY IS OVER FOLKS! If you admit any party you are un american because both parties are complicit in taking down this country. The current nutfactory just shifted into a much higher gear. We need Americans in DC, fire ALL the hypocrites!

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    June 3, 2014
    3:50 a.m.

    As F.A. Hayek pointed out: Even though Marxism is revolutionary and Fabianism gradualist, the centrally planned and dictated system that each envisions is basically the same.

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