This is a really slippery slope that our shit head elected officials are attempting to do.
Well, to that, FUCK ALL OF YOU.
From The Daily News:
When Albany politicians pass a bill in the dead of night, you know they’re up to no good. Especially when they explain their actions with phony rhetoric about ethics.
Albany’s latest “campaign finance” bill, which Gov. Cuomo touts as the “nation’s strongest protections to combat Citizens United,” is in fact a blatant attack on your rights. Its 62 pages are chock-full of complex provisions, obscure speech traps and legal complexities.
If this becomes law, which looks sure to happen, you’d be a fool to say anything about a politician — especially in a campaign season, when that speech is most pertinent — without first consulting a lawyer. That’s not the American way, but it’s happening in New York.
Lawmakers and the governor praise the package as combating potential corruption by big-money interests, who, the theory goes, are conspiring to rig the game.
The legislation creates expansive new definitions of what constitutes illegal coordination between independent groups and candidates, and forces unprecedented reporting to the state by advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association. It adds complex new lobbying rules, removes privacy protections for donors to charities if the group gives even trivial support to a lobbying affiliate, and makes political consultants register with the state.
And while it’s touted as an ethics reform, elected officials themselves won’t face any new reporting requirements.
Pity the person who starts an organization to publish report cards on votes cast in Albany. If they spend even a small amount, they must register and report their activities and key supporters to the government.
The bill would even apply to one person, acting alone, who spends practically nothing criticizing Albany pols. Let’s say some politician ticks you off and you make a homemade video criticizing him. Then you publish it on YouTube and promote it with some Facebook ads.
Uh-oh. Under the proposal, you just became an independent expenditure committee. You broke the law because you spent funds criticizing a politician without first registering with the government. For that violation, you could face a $5,000 fine. Even if you beat the rap, you’d likely spend way more than that on lawyers.
And in the name of supposedly preventing coordination between campaigns and independent spending, the bill would suffocate rights of free association.
Consider a student who worked on office chores for a lawyer to help pay for college. Eighteen months after quitting that job, she’s employed at an environmental group. Then the student’s former employer runs for the Legislature.
The environmental group pays for ads independently supporting the candidate. Under the bill, that’s illegal coordination. Why? Because the measure bars such activity when an organization has on staff someone who was “employed by . . . the candidate . . . within two years” of an election.
The bill is loaded with terms regulating speech rights that are impossible to understand, such as “strategic discussion” or “operational or managerial influence.”
Penalties for violations are enormous. Even as an employee, you could be personally responsible to pay them. The fines could easily be more than your annual salary.
There are even penalties for groups when they publish any “campaign-related material” from a candidate. On the face of it, this would appear to include even secret recordings of candidates. Remember the one that destroyed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign? When he said 47% of voters were with President Obama because they were “dependent on government”? If an advocacy group published that type of info — which the public should see — that could soon be illegal in New York.
The message of all this? Don’t bother to criticize a politician. It’s too dangerous. It’s even too risky for many lawyers, who will struggle to understand the law. Even a good lawyer might wonder about speech rules that apply to “a legislative matter other than matters described in subparagraph (E) of the second undesignated paragraph of subdivision (c) of section one-c of the legislative law.” Yes, that’s a real quote from the bill.
Many effective groups, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving for example, start small, tap into public outrage and then grow. Rules like the ones proposed in this bill will strangle such groups in red tape or worse before they can become effective.
It’s possible Albany’s leaders didn’t write this bill with evil intent. They might simply be incompetent. Regardless, passing without public scrutiny such a major bill affecting a core American right — to speak freely about politics — was a huge mistake.
Keating is president of the Center for Competitive Politics.