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Smith Smackdown

Former FEC Commissioner And Tireless Free Speech Advocate Brad Smith delivers quite the smackdown to Sen. Russ Feingold in this op-ed: "Yes, senator, McCain-Feingold does censor political speech."

A sample:

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., takes issue with The Examiner's editorial criticism of the McCain-Feingold bill and its "ban" on certain broadcast ads. The indignant senator responds that the law "doesn't ban or censor any speech."

Feingold's position is disingenuous. For just a few sentences after telling us the law "doesn't ban or censor any speech," he tells us that McCain-Feingold was necessary to prevent some voices from being "drowned out" by others. As McCain-Feingold does nothing to affirmatively create or encourage speech -- it offers no subsidies or platform for political speech -- the only way it can prevent anyone's voice from being "drowned out" is through the suppression of other speech -- and that is indeed what McCain-Feingold does, as the senator must know.

Smith goes on to dismantle the common objection from "reformers" that citizen groups are still allowed to speak by way of PACs. Suffice it to say, they shouldn't need permission, and this alternative is wholly inadequate.