In the first of what promises to be the first of a number of lawsuits against 527 groups under the horrendous McCain-Feingold act, the Federal Election Committee is suing the Club for Growth for its television adds in 2000 and 2002. Essentially, the FEC is attempting to declare the Club for Growth to be under the control of and an arm of the Republican Party, and therefore subject to McCain-Feingold spending and donation limitations.
This is absurd. First, current election law and McCain-Feingold are a brazen assault on the first amendment, and shouldn't apply to anyone. Second, to the extent that they are allowed to be applied to the two major political parties, their reach should be limited as much as possible to allow private citizens full freedom of political speech.
While the Club for Growth often supports Republicans over Democrats, browsing their web site makes it clear that they are by no means a shill for the Republican party. They are strong supporters of reduced regulation and taxes, and have been just as hard on Republicans of late when Bush, Delay and Company have apparently abandoned these goals. I have supported The Club for Growth for years and I am by no means a Republican.
Several lefty blogs have gleefully piled on because they don't like the Club for Growth. This is very very shortsighted. My sense is that the case against CfG is no better or worse than the case they can have against MoveOn or Soros or whatever. The CfG suit may well be a Trojan Horse first case to immunize the Bush Administration and the FEC against charges that they are going after the President's critics. Once immunized, under this theory, lefty organizations will be next.
Bloggers represent one of the strongest and most vocal constituencies for freedom of speech -- we should be united in opposing this kind of action, whoever it is against.
Update: More from Reason's Hit and Run