The Speech Police Aren't Coming, They're Here
Texas state campaign finance regulators are pursuing enforcement actions seeking the names of donors to conservative organizations. With other state regulators in Democrat-run states, these speech regulators are coordinating their responses to free speech litigation and state legislation limiting their regulatory powers.
Other states, including California, are also attempting to obtain the names of donors from conservative groups.
State speech and campaign finance regulators in blue states, and in states with regulatory boards such as Wisconsin with a decidedly left-leaning bias, have been participating in an internet discussion group to enhance state speech regulation.
The list server is run by the state of Vermont. The address: Campaign-Finance-Litigation-Defense@list.state.vt.us. Emails obtained by PJ Media show extensive collaboration among bureaucrats in different states in their efforts to regulate political speech, particularly against conservatives.
Participation on the list has included government employees in at least the following states: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New York City, New York, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
There's a clear purpose here- voter intimidation. Up until Obama used the IRS to intimidate conservative groups, the most glaring example of state agencies using government power to quell activism was in the 1950s, when segregated Alabama demanded that the NAACP turn over its membership lists in exchange for operating in the state. The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional then. In that case, Justice John Marshall Harlan II noted that "Immunity from state scrutiny of petitioner's membership lists is here so related to the right of petitioner's members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in doing so as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment." It was that privacy that allowed the organization to grow so strong, and doggedly pursue the civil rights reforms that helped bring about true equality under the law. Had the court ruled otherwise, those lists might have been used to intimidate and publicly shame those who privately supported the civil rights movement.
The IRS was successful in its attempt to limit conservative groups, but the public is now aware. With Hillary on the ballot, it seems that Democrats have found another way to stifle dissent. It's good to see that conservatives are vigilant this time around.