Congress Shall Make No Law...
July
1
3:07 PM
Situational effrontery


John McCain is walking a tightrope.  In his previous life, he served as the lead Republican voice in favor of campaign finance “reform” and was one of the key sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.  In fact, his role in that legislation was so vital that the law is frequently referred to as “McCain-Feingold.”

 

Among other things, one provision of McCain-Feingold banned corporations and unions from running “electioneering communications”—advertisements that mentioned federal candidates by name within a certain number of days before an election.  During oral arguments in Citizens United v. FEC last year, Justice Scalia said, “I doubt that one can expect a body of incumbents to draw election restrictions that do not favor incumbents.”  Senator McCain took umbrage at that and decried Scalia’s comment as ”an affront” to the ”decent, honorable men and women who have served this nation in these halls for well over 200 years.”

 

The Senator McCain of 2009 therefore saw “McCain-Feingold” as the product of a publicly spirited Congress that is only looking out for Americans’ best interests.  So he must view other politicians’ campaign finance efforts with equal magnanimity, right?  Not quite.  After the House passed the DISCLOSE Act last Friday, McCain jabbed, “It’s no surprise that Democrats craft a bill that favors their supporters.”

 

So I guess the rose-colored glasses are off now.  Here’s to hoping that Senator McCain has had an epiphany and comes to realize that when Members of Congress legislate on campaign finance matters, they typically design the laws to give themselves a leg up on their political opponents.  The Founders knew of this constant temptation, which is why they said in the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.”