FAN 17.3 (First Amendment News) Senator Cruz Introduces Two Free Speech Bills

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz

Today in the course of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing concerning S.J. 19 (a proposal to amend the First Amendment) Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he was introducing two bills  “to protect the individual right to free speech in the wake of Democrats’ efforts to effectively repeal the First Amendment by allowing Congress to regulate spending on political speech.” As the robust Committee discussion went back and forth, Senator Cruz paused for a moment to say a few words about the pair of bills he was introducing: 

“Senate Democrats are seeking unfettered power to regulate and stifle political speech, which is why today, it’s more important than ever to champion the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution,” Sen. Cruz said. “Once Congress can prohibit spending money, it can prohibit almost every form of speech, whether it comes to books, films, television advertisements, or events. The pair of bills I filed today will not only encourage more freedom and transparency in the campaign finance system, but once again put individual Americans on a level playing field with the media and politicians when it comes to exercising our First Amendment rights.” [See video clip here]

SuperPAC Elimination Act of 2014

The first bill is entitled “the SuperPAC Elimination Act of 2014.” The bill was offered as an amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. The proposed law would “eliminate limitations on direct contributions to candidates” and “require disclosure of certain contributions within 24 hours or receipt, and for other purposes.” The bill’s stated purpose would be to “allow unlimited direct contributions by citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States to candidates in Federal elections.”

The disclosure section of the bill provides in relevant part that “[i]f a candidate receives an aggregate amount of contributions in excess of $200 from any contributor during a calendar year the principal campaign committee of such candidate shall submit to the Secretary or the Commission, and the Secretary of State, as appropriate, in writing, a notification containing the name of the candidate and office sought by the candidate, the identification of the contributor, and the date of the receipt and amount of the contribution.”

The Free All Speech Act

The Senator’s second bill is entitled “The Free All Speech Act.” The first part of the bill provides that “[a]ny law that restricts the political speech of American citizens shall apply with equal force to media corporations, such as the New York Times, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and the CBS Television Network.” Another section of the bill states that to “the extent that the application of a law to a media corporation under subsection (a) is found unconstitutional, such law shall have no force or effect with respect to American citizens.”

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