In the waning days of New Hampshire’s leftist experiment of 2007-2010, in the months leading up to the crackling heat of the 2010 election, the Democrat-lead state legislature attempted to pass the Sullivan/Hassan speech intimidation amendment attached to NH HB1459 .
This kitchen-table Frankenstein was strung together by Democrat party Committee creature Kathy “Lawsuit” Sullivan and then Democrat state Senator Maggie “The Red” Hassan, from dead bits of left wing jack-booted policy dreams. The goal was to quickly replace the gag that the Supreme Courts Citizens United v. FEC ruling had removed. They would require businesses to get permission to engage in political speech if they intended to spend over a certain sum.
Assigning government regulated speech limitations based on some arbitrary, government defined value was hardly the worst of it. The democrats also wanted to empower third parties to intimidate political speech for them as well. Anyone with the money and time could file a lawsuit against any business that it thought could have violated the law. This would give every out of state funded left wing non-profit the ability to pay its left wing, democrat supporting lawyers, to cast a chilling anti-speech pall across the New Hampshire Landscape. Fear of litigation would instantaneously exclude thousands of voices from the political debate simply because they could not risk the time and expense of being sued, even erroneously, should they fail to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.
From square one this was a partisan, prejudicial and intentionally unconstitutional act.
Government can do nothing without first denying someone of their legally earned income, so this bill established that it was acceptable for 51% of those doing the taxing to define what constituted free speech. When that happens free speech is no longer a protected right, it is a legislated privilege regulated by a democratic mobocracy. It no longer mattered that every business pays some kind of tax, in most cases dozens of them, to finance government. It did not matter that the right to free association can take the form of a business or group that might have an interest in it’s relationship to how government exercises power in their name. All that mattered to New Hampshire Democrats was that free speech continues to be a barrier to their political success, and if they could silence any class of persons they could find a way to silence any dissenter they chose.
Ask yourself, which party is forever trying to limit free speech and the answer is Democrats? The war on business, the fairness doctrine, the war on new media and Fox news. The insults and slurs hurled at the TEA party. These are all efforts to intimidate or limit speech to which the left objects. They have no interest in fairness or equality of message. They seek to control the message.
The New Hampshire Democrat effort to complicate, regulate, and even intimidate anyone out of having free reign to speak about how or how often they are taxed, about how those taxes are used, and to actually sanction random intimidation by entities outside the government, should have immediately disqualified them from every holding another elected office. We came just a few votes shy of passing a bill that Governor Lynch said he was prepared to sign.
This is not something we can forget. It defines the character of everyone who voted for it, sanctioned it, or supported it. This thinking permeates everything about their grasp of your relationship to government. They still think this way, and they will continue to argue in support of it, even though their actual justifications for it, are fatally flawed.
The public persona of restricting political speech–not the real reason but the PR campaign, was that transparency was essential to protect free speech. Groups with money had to be regulated to prevent an unfair advantage. But as most of us know left wing “leveling” policy typically creates other problems, and the Sullivan/Hassan anti speech bill would be no different.
Limiting public corporate speech does not in any way reduce the taxes a business pays or its interests in affecting policy relative to its being taxed. The business, or groups of them, will still feel compelled to influence any policy that costs them money at the hand of government, or that might create an advantage or disadvantage in the marketplace. Those acts might force them to hire or fire, relocate, add a bureaucratic burden, or require changes to their infrastructure. This is no different than you taking a sudden interest when your town considers new spending or raising your taxes. You want to know what’s in it for you, what do I get for the cost? If government can act in a way that costs you money, you want to have some say.
In the case of business, regulating speech does not diminish your stake in the outcome, so you seek other avenues to make your voice heard. You do that by redirecting money you would have spent on open public speech, into paying lobbyists no one will see or here but politicians. The democrats claim that this will increase transparency, when in fact, it does exactly the opposite.
Reducing corporate speech to hired guns also gives big business an enormous advantage over small business. Small businessmen can’t afford a lobbyist to agitate on their interests. Responding to legislation would require them to leave their business to travel to the capitol to be heard even just for one day, time that could have been spent in some other productive effort. And not being a paid professional with spending accounts with which to woo elected officials on a daily basis, puts them at yet another disadvantage. The end result is the reduction of ‘free’ speech, by the democrat party, to power brokers and corporate socialists who collude with government to handicap competitors whom they have intentionally excluded by law.
This is what the Democrat Party wanted. For those who are not inclined to believe that, then consider that since this is the logical outcome, they must then just be too damn stupid to be trusted with keeping the government from infringing on your rights. Either way, the left is still a risk not worth taking.
Everything about the Sullivan/Hassan anti-speech amendment, sanctioned by the democrat party leadership and supported by federal level candidates like Carol SEIU Porter, was designed to intimidate free speech and limit access to a free political expression and the very legislative process that financed itself by taxing these same businesses.
The irony, of course, (yes another one) is that the first amendment exists for the very purpose of preventing governments from doing what the New Hampshire Democrats were trying to do; define the conditions and then mine the field of free speech. The same Democrats that worked so hard to further tax the states businesses to pay for more democrat run government, committed to limiting their ability to affect how they are taxed.
The New Hampshire’s Democrat party is proud to be a part of that, and committed to its two-faced strategy. Regulating speech by business, and hence anyone or everyone should it become necessary, continues to be one of their goals, backed by the beneficiary of such polices, and financed by party supporters and out of state left wing special interests. So whatever concern you may have about politicians or politics, or the direction of your state, understand that without free speech you can have no voice to claim any other right.
The only party in the Granite State committed to using the power of government to regulate, or limit political speech, is the New Hampshire Democrat party.
Consider yourself warned.