MINOT, N.D.—Last month I wrote in this column that Measure 1, the so-called “anti-corruption” amendment put on the November ballot thanks to professional petitioners paid mostly by a group of Hollywood celebrities, was an affront to the First Amendment.
The left-wing supporters of the measure scoffed when I made that argument. I saw feedback to it suggesting I was exaggerating or even outright fabricating my claims—that I was merely serving as the lackey for deep-pocketed interests interested in defeating the proposal.
“You will note that it contains no exception to this reporting requirement for individuals spending their own money to express their personal point of view on a given campaign or piece of public policy,” I wrote in that column. “Thus we are left with a constitutional mandate so absurdly broad that a citizen spending their own money on fuel and meals and lodging while traveling Bismarck to testify on a bill would have to disclose their spending to the government if the spending is over $200.”
I also pointed out the measure had no exemptions for the news media. “Talk radio hosts like me, newspaper columnists like me, bloggers like me, would probably be subject to the regulations implemented by this measure because we spend our days influencing politics and policy with analysis, opinion and original reporting.”
Again, the measure’s supporters reacted to this as though it were outright fabulism.
Problem is, the ACLU is making the same argument.