Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Free speech victory

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Government Accountability Board backed down on their plan to regulate issue-oriented political speech.

The state capitulated Tuesday in a lawsuit over new rules regulating campaign-style ads, agreeing they should not be enforced.

The Government Accountability Board – a panel of six retired judges in charge of running state elections – has been the subject of three lawsuits in the 10 days since the rules took effect.

The lawsuits were brought by nearly a dozen groups from across the political spectrum in two federal courts and the state Supreme Court.

The board and the groups that brought one of the lawsuits filed a joint stipulation Tuesday with the federal court in Madison in which the board agreed to a permanent injunction preventing the enforcement of the rules regarding issue advocacy.

The MacIver Institute, for whom I write, recently joined a number of organizations in suing the GAB over this rule, too. I also wrote about the rule and the need for its repeal in the Waukesha Freeman.

The legislature needs to bring the GAB back under control so it can’t make rules like this again. (There is nothing less accountable than a government agency charged with making everyone else accountable to it.)

Democratic activist and former political consultant Bill Christofferson asked, “Does anyone else find it ironic that all of the members of GAB, which passed this thing to begin with, are former judges?”

No Bill, I don’t find it ironic at all.

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