Yesterday, Twitter announced that it would not carry any political ads (broadly defined to include issue ads as in the Honest Ads Act/SHIELD Act) on its platform. Under current law, this is perfectly permissible. It contrasts with the approach taken by Facebook, which announced recently that it would not decide truth and falsity in political ads. Democrats and the mainstream media were quick to praise the decision:Read more
This morning, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been a steadfast defender of First Amendment rights, spoke on the Senate floor about the SHIELD Act under consideration by the House today. He called it "the latest installment in Speaker Pelosi’s campaign to expand government’s control over Americans’ political speech."
Speaker Pelosi's current crusade against Americans' political speech rights began with H.R. 1, and the SHIELD Act contains portions of H.R. 1, the Honest Ads, and other dangerous provisions. The RNLA sent a letter to the House opposing it.Read more
SHIELD Act Would Regulate Americans' Political Speech Instead of Preventing Foreign Election Interference
Yesterday, the Committee on House Administration marked up the SHIELD Act (H.R. 4617, Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy Act). The SHIELD Act contains the provisions of the Honest Ads Act, plus additional dangerous provisions.
If passed, it would likely have very little effect on foreign efforts to influence or interfere with U.S. elections. Instead, it would regulate Americans seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights, with the effect of restricting political speech.
The RNLA sent a letter to the House opposing the SHIELD Act:Read more
Former FEC Chair and RNLA Board of Governors member Lee Goodman penned a column in The Hill laying bare the inadequacies of the Honest Ads Act pending in Congress.
Goodman writes that the bill would “severely restrict the First Amendment rights of American citizens and media companies but barely impact foreign meddlers.”
To address the kind of foreign meddling witnessed in 2016, Goodman recommends that Congress amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to apply directly to foreign propagandists like the Internet Research Agency. The law currently applies only to the U.S.-based agents of foreign principals. House Democrats are expected to push a version of the Honest Ads Act when Congress returns next week.Read more