Mitch McConnell spoke passionately on the Senate floor last week on the Obama Administration's war on free speech. The RNLA National Policy Conference this Friday will feature a panel with former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson on the subject. Here are some excerpts from Senate Republican leader McConnell’s remarks:
“I’d like to take a moment to address the anti-free speech regulation the Obama Administration has made a priority for this term. It’s a regulation that comes in the wake of an unprecedented IRS attack on Americans’ civil liberties, and it represents a direct assault on the First Amendment.
“First, let’s be clear: this is not some partisan issue. Right across the political spectrum, the American people agree that this regulation is a terrible idea. That’s probably why it’s generated more public backlash than any similar regulation in our lifetimes.
“Americans on the Left hate it.
“Americans on the Right hate it.
“Unions, business groups, environmentalists, conservatives, and the ACLU, all of them have expressed concern.
“It’s pretty rare to see a coalition that broad agree on anything in Washington.
“And yet, it’s easy to see why Americans would be so united in opposition to this regulation. The First Amendment exists to protect political speech. And the government should be doing everything it can to protect that right, not hurt it.
“That’s why you saw a record number of Americans register their complaints with the IRS. In fact, there were more than 140,000 comments in all, which I hear is just about the highest number ever received in the agency’s history.
“And let’s not forget. The IRS has a long way to go to regain the public’s trust these days. Too many Americans look at the agency and see an instrument of political harassment, rather than a bureau of tax processers.
“So if the agency wants to regain trust and return to its true mission, then it’s simply got to get out of the speech regulation business altogether.
“And the Obama Administration can do that.
“Look: the Administration ran this idea up the flagpole. It decided in the midst of a historic crisis of public confidence at the IRS to upend more than a half century of practice and rewrite the rules on how Americans could exercise their right to be heard. They asked for comments. And the American people let them know what they thought.
“So this regulation needs to go. And it needs to go now.
“It is in the Administration’s power to make that happen.
“All it has to do is listen to the American people who are speaking out in record numbers – and put an end, for good, to the idea that the law should be used to harm political enemies.
“Let’s protect the First Amendment and restore integrity to the IRS.”
We could not agree more Senator McConnell.