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Tell Your Congressman to Vote “Yes” for Free Speech on the Internet

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Image hosting by TinyPicTomorrow afternoon the House of Representatives is set to vote on the Online Freedom of Speech Act (H.R. 1606) which will protect the right of bloggers, online journalists and those posting to newsgroups and forums to continue to express their political opinions freely. This bill was introduced in response to the Federal Court’s decision to extend the provisions of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act to the internet. This will have the effect of drastically restricting free political speech on the internet and treat it as if it was political advertising, potentially requiring bloggers to register as PACs, file large amounts of paperwork, or pay substantial fines. At the very least you would be prohibited from posting about politics or sending emails about political issues for as much as 60 days before an election.

McCain-Feingold is a disaster that will ultimately be struck down by the Supreme Court, but until that happens this act now in Congress is an essential short-term way to protect your rights to free speech. The more we let them restrict our free speech, the more the entrenched establishment of career politicians can use their position of advantage to block any political change and hold on to power. This will destroy the power of modern grass-roots campaigning through the internet.

This is the brief letter I sent to my Congressman, Mike McCaul:

Dear Rep. McCaul:

I wanted to take a moment to urge you to vote in support of HR 1606 which I believe comes up for a vote tomorrow. This is the “Online Freedom of Speech Act” which is designed to prevent the stifling of free speech rights on the internet which may result from the restrictions of the McCain-Feingold act.

Those of us who use the internet to express our opinions and ideas deserve to do so with the same freedom we would have if we were discussing politics in our local bar or coffee shop with our friends. The Constitution guarantees the right to speak freely on the streetcorner, in our homes and in print. That right should not be restricted on the internet to serve ill-considered ideas of ‘political fairness’. It’s never fair to take free speech away from the people.

Dave Nalle

To send an email to your own representative just go to the www.house.gov and use the form they provide. To get more info on this topic, visit the Liberty Committee website. To hear the counter-argument from the voice of the elite, check out the editorial in today’s New York Times.

There’s not much time to act. The bill will be voted on tomorrow afternoon, so send your email or make a phone call tonight or tomorrow to tell your representative to do his job and protect your rights and vote “yes” on for online freedom of speech.

Iran and China have a policy of silencing bloggers to protect the state. Do you think we ought to follow their example here in America?

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Just a quick followup to this. Some additional reading suggests that the court case which ended up extending McCain-Feingold to the internet was launched specifically to shut down conservative politicial speech by political partisans from the left. Seems strange given what a strong voice they have through sites like DailyKos and Moveon.org, but this desire to stiffle free political speech is a thread running through the political strategy of the left in recent days.


  • JP

    Thanks Dave, very important, although I’m confused by your comment. Exactly the opposite of what I’d expect, as indeed the left has some very loud and prominent voices and sites.

  • I know, it’s peculiar, isn’t it. I think that the dynamic is that the left has a smaller number of much better funded sites which are prepared to register as legal PACs if necessary, while they feel that the right has lots and lots of smaller sites with little or no funding which could be easily shut down.


  • I think this is a very important issue as well, I’ve also blogged on this. What is sad though is that the Supreme Court has upheld McCain-Feingold on a number of occaisions. Did they just get amnesia and forget the 1st Amendment?

  • The SC has just never accepted the idea that there is an element of free speech in how one chooses to spend one’s money and labor.
    IMO that requires serious twisting of logic.


  • Dave Nalle

    Latest word on this is that it was taken to a preemptive floor vote which would have required a 2/3 majority to pass and the Democrats voted against it in large enough numbers to block the 2/3, although it did get a simple majority.

    I believe that this means it can be resubmitted for a regular vote eventually, in which case chances of it passing look good.


  • Letters sent to representatives and senators. Thanks for posting this. And do remember that Kos, et al, don’t represent many on the left.

  • Dave Nalle

    The left is certainly not uniform, you’re right on that. But it was Kos and their ilk who got this bill defeated for the second time and who supported the lawsuit which made it necessary, and they’re increasingly powerful in the Democratic party.

    But keep sending in those letters, because this bill is going to come up again and it needs to be supported.