All-Out Assault on Conservative Non-Profit Speech Reaches Minnesota

Stifling speechAs we’ve learned, the IRS under the Obama Administration has been weaponized against conservative non-profits in an effort to stifle opposition speech, but that’s not the only avenue of attack. A partisan bill was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature, but ultimately defeated last year that would impose onerous new regulations on grassroots organizations like Minnesota Majority, Tea Party groups and numerous other non-profits

It’s back this year and it contains all manner of vague, subjective language (like “clearly;” “reasonable;” and “biased,”) that will allow a small 6-member board, appointed by the governor to determine who has violated the proposed new campaign finance laws and who has not. “Bias” is often in the eye of the beholder. In this case, it’s entirely up to the governor to determine who the “beholders” are.

The bill proposes to make identical messages which are constitutionally protected free speech during some of the year into regulated speech during another part of the year, having the effect of chilling grassroots speech and preventing voters from access to perspectives and information that may differ from the mainstream press (which is specifically exempted from the new regulations).

For example, the bill would still “allow” Minnesota Majority’s annual scorecard to be produced and distributed, as long as we keep a lid on it when it’s close to election time. If we don’t, the state would consider information about how legislators voted to be “electioneering,” subject to new campaign finance regulations as if we were a candidate campaign committee.

HF1944/SF1915 proposes to create “free speech zones” on the calendar, allowing the state to determine when grassroots groups can engage in unfettered speech and when such speech would be regulated.

Simply using the name of a legislator in a communication providing information about an important public policy issue, voting records, or even mentioning who authored a particular piece of legislation would subject non-profit organizations like Minnesota Majority or Tea Party groups to additional hurdles. These regulations would not affect mainstream press, big unions, or the ultra-rich who can fund their own messaging.

If a legislator’s voting record is so atrocious as to constitute an ad against his or her reelection, that’s on the legislator, not the organization who’s simply providing the information to the public.

Just like in the IRS scandal, the “little guy” is the target of this legislation. It’s the poor or middle-class, rank-and-file voter who has to band together with other like-minded people through non-profit associations in order to compete in the information arena who will be stifled by this legislation.

The House and Senate versions of this bill have just passed their respective chambers’ Elections Committees on party-line votes with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

Last year, Governor Dayton pledged not to sign any elections bill that didn’t have “strong bipartisan support” and legislators mostly seemed to respect that, but this year, it looks like Democrat leaders want to test the waters and pass bills that will alter our election laws on a purely partisan basis in hopes that the governor will break his pledge and sign them into law.

Use the Take Action Button below to contact your state Senator, Representative and the Governor about this legislation.

3 Responses to All-Out Assault on Conservative Non-Profit Speech Reaches Minnesota

  1. Upset March 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    For America’s truth to be so offensive to feeble minded people given permission by authoritarian overreach to restrict the mouths of some is not the weakness we want standardized here or in America. Stop funding government conflicts. And what about that lady who (forget all offensive vulgar, derogatory terms women are forced to tolerate in public broadcast) wants to ban “bossy.” Provoking a designed level of human tolerance diverts potential. Let people decide through truth for themselves eliminating no one’s speech so people can get a sincere perception their minds are meant to retrieve on their own.

    I heard the disgusting school board approved “carrie” for a spring play? Yeah kids lets see what extreme bully behavior can bring in super natural telepathy… dangerous! Why not better choices with encouragement like any of the “rocky?” or Brian Song” a bigot loved by a black man. Or “To Sir with love!” Or “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” All positive, inspirational, motivational builders of self esteem, personal tolerance and human dignity. “Carrie” is about revenge through extreme violence. These people are dangerous to the human mind! Eliminate their funding and dismiss their position. You don’t steer kids in this direction because it’s for the kids. Adults are suppose to have a sense of good judgement and discretion. This is a hook, line and sinker in direction of their government induced brainwash. Can’t stand free speech? Restrict your own!!!!! what, doesn’t the NSA LIKE MY HANDLE? I did enter all fields correctly!!

  2. Pally March 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    There’s plenty of time for those offended by truth to defend their own! Why restrict speech at all but for those trying to hide truth and why hide it if people would rather choose communism? Restrict no ones’ speech let the people know truth for sincere perception and prosecute the IRS for lacking quality of the position and overreaching to prove it!

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