Senator Ted Cruz renewed his verbal assault against a campaign finance amendment during a judiciary committee hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, warning that the proposal would serve to repeal the First Amendment and empower Congress to ban books and movies.
The proposal seeks to prohibit corporations from contributing unlimited amounts of money to election campaigns, but Cruz sees the move as a backdoor attempt by Democrats to eviscerate the First Amendment because it could ban publishers, movie producers and political groups from being able to engage in political free speech.
Labeling the amendment, “the single most radical and most dangerous proposal that has been introduced in the 113th Congress,” Cruz warned that if it was adopted it would repeal the First Amendment.
Asserting that Democrats have signed their name to a proposal that would expressly annul the free speech provisions of the bill of rights, Cruz complained that debate on the issue was being deliberately restricted.
The Texas Senator warned that the amendment would allow Congress to regulate corporations such as book publishers, giving it the power to ban books and movies, as well as revoking the free speech rights of political organizations to talk about policy.
Cruz then cited the ACLU’s stance on the issue, which is that the proposal would, “severely limit the First Amendment and lead directly to government censorship of political speech,” before drawing attention to the Citizens United case during which Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart said the federal government had the power to ban books and movies.
“Citizens United was a movie, this whole thing was started because a movie maker dared make a movie critical of Hillary Clinton,” said Cruz. “You know it was their constitutional right to do so just like it’s Michael Moore’s constitutional right to make movies that those on the left celebrate.”
According to Cruz, the amendment would restrict the free speech rights of not for profit corporations, a designation which would include a whole swathe of different political groups, including those on the left like the NAACP and the Sierra Club.
“These are the Fahrenheit 451 Democrats,” said Cruz, a reference to the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury in which firefighters burn books to suppress freedom of thought.
“Does the bill of rights mean so little that 46 Senators are willing to amend it and take away our free speech rights?” asked Cruz.
The Texas Senator expanded on his position in an editorial published today.