Commissioner Goodman is Fighting For Free Speech and Increased Participation

Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Commissioner Lee Goodman is fighting the good fight over at the FEC.  Lee is a former first Vice President of the RNLA.  However, Lee is fighting for the rights of ALL parties and people to speak in two ways:

1. Commissioner Goodman writesabout efforts to regulate the parties and the presidential debate process:

I write separately, however, to express more fundamental concerns with the Commission’s regulation of press organizations that sponsor candidate debates as part of their news coverage and programming.  For too long, the Commission has ignored the congressional and constitutional mandates to unconditionally protect the free press rights of media entities.  Our shared American democracy thrives only when government respects the media’s freedom and independence to inform the public about public affairs.  But thirty-five years ago, the Commission made a regulatory error that has encroached upon that autonomy ever since.

 As the Washington Examiner notes:

His memo came on the heels of an FEC decision to stiff-arm a demand from an outside group seeking to require media outlets to include third-party candidates in debate. But in shrugging off the demand, the FEC also maintained a 1979 ruling that tells the media how to run debates. Goodman has been warning for two years of Democratic efforts on the evenly-split FEC to regulate websites and press outlets, especially conservative ones like Drudge. His efforts so far have kept the regulations in the closet. Goodman, formerly a Virginia Republican Party counsel, wrote, "Our shared Democracy thrives only when the government respects the media's freedom and independence to inform the public about public affairs. But 35 years ago, the commission made a regulatory error that has encroached upon that autonomy ever since."

2. Commissioner Goodman also wrote a piece about strengthening the parties.  On Tuesday, the FEC will “vote on a proposal to revive political parties and make them more effective at mobilizing populist political participation.”  Commissioner Goodman notes how important this is for a number of reasons, including what should be non-controversial such as voter registration, including:

Second, the FEC should expand regulatory freedom for parties to engage volunteers in democratic activities such as volunteer mail drives, phone banks and literature distribution. Current laws either prohibit or are so vague that they chill parties from engaging armies of volunteers to engage in time-honored voter contacts and door knocking campaigns. Third, the FEC needs to give the parties more regulatory freedom to register voters and turn voters out to the polls. The current proposal would allow state and local parties greater freedom to engage in this profoundly important democratic activity.

This has support across the ideological spectrum from the libertarian right to the radical left:

For decades political scientists have lamented the demise of political parties and have blamed government regulatory policy. The near death of parties has been the subject of over a dozen recent reports by practitioners and lawyers for the two major parties and minor parties alike, party experts, academics and think tanks ranging from the libertarian Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute to the pro-regulatory Brennan Center for Justice. The press also has recognized the problem, from Politico's "Last Call for State Parties" (Feb. 16, 2014) to Time's "Party Down" (March 3, 2014), observing that America's political parties are no longer effective institutions.

Thank you Commissioner Goodman for working to strengthen Democracy on a bipartisan basis.