The IRS and the Drive to Stop Free Speech

Such a scandal was bound to happen after the government started trying to rule the expression of political views.
 

By David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey

The unfolding IRS scandal is a symptom, not the disease.For decades, campaign-finance reform zealots have sought to limit core political speech through spending limits and disclosure requirements. More recently, they have claimed that it is wrong and dangerous for tax-exempt entities to engage in political speech.

The Obama administration shares these views, especially when conservative, small-government organizations are involved, and the IRS clearly got the message. While the agency must be investigated and reformed, the ultimate cure for these abuses is to unshackle political speech by all groups, including tax-exempt ones, from arbitrary and unconstitutional government regulation.

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Reporters need a federal shield law

News must often be gathered by confidential sources, or not at all. That confidentiality must be uniformly protected.

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

A Colorado judge’s threatened contempt sanctions against Fox News investigative reporter Jana Winter—who refuses to reveal a confidential news source—has refocused public attention on how journalists operate.

News must often be gathered from confidential sources, or not at all. Given how vital is the freedom of the press in a democracy, that confidentiality must be maintained. It is time that Congress recognize this and enact legislation that enables journalists to protect their confidential sources and newsgathering materials.

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The rush to a bad gun-control law

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman

Those who support stricter gun control fear that the passage of time since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will result in further watering-down of measures. They should not, however, discount the risk that attempts to shave a few weeks or months off the usual legislative process will result in bad laws, with unintended and lasting consequences.

While pro-gun forces may overstate the case against expanded background checks — they are not, for example, a prelude to disarming the citizenry — President Obama and his allies have understated the difficult legal questions posed by extending the background-check system to cover more sales and transfers.

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Corporate crime and punishment

Fines levied by the SEC against a corporation for long-ago wrongdoing do not protect current investors.

By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR.  And JOHN J. CARNEY

Two weeks ago, a unanimous Supreme Court rebuffed the Securities and Exchange Commission Gabelli v. SEC. The SEC maintained that its enforcement actions for fines under the Investment Advisers Act weren’t subject to the five-year statute of limitations. This wasn’t the first time the courts have pushed back a federal agency for overreaching. It won’t be the last.

But the SEC’s audacity prompts a broader policy question: What good is accomplished by imposing monetary penalties on corporations, as the agency attempted to do in Gabelli? The answer is that when such penalties are sought by the government, they probably do more harm than good.

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Obama Recess Appointments Invaild

Noel Canning v. NLRB: DC Circuit Court of Appeals Rules President Obama’s Recess Appointments were Invalid

 

driv-head-shot-from-fox-interview-on-gun-controlOn Friday, January 25, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, ruled that  President Obama’s “recess appointments” of three National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members was unconstitutional.  At issue was whether the President illegally invoked the Recess Appointments clause of Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution when he filled three existing vacancies on the NLRB during pro forma sessions of Congress (President Obama had maintained that Congress was actually not in session).  Attorneys for Noel Canning argued that, since the recess appointments were illegal, the NLRB lacked a quorum when it ruled that the company violated various provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, and, therefore, the NLRB ruling was invalid and unenforceable. A three-member panel consisting of Chief Judge David Santelle, and Circuit Judges Thomas Griffith and Karen Henderson concurred.

For additional analysis, read this alert.

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David Rivkin BBC/NPR appearance on gun control transcript

David Rivkin on Gun Control and the Second Amendment

The following is a transcript of David Rivkin’s appearance on the BBC Newshour radio broadcast on December 17, 2012.  The show was a direct response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Host: David Rivkin joined us from the Washington studio and on the line from San Francisco I also spoke to Clara Jeffrey who is coeditor of Mother Jones a left leaning investigations magazine, does she think that this is a turning point?

Clara Jeffery: I think it could be, I think this has outraged the country. It’s one of many mass shootings this year.  The numbers keep getting worse and worse. We’ve had twice as many casualties as in any year past and I think it will behoove ordinary people to organize and responsible gun owners to step forward and say that they too support reasonable restrictions.  We need to put the wind behind politicians to make the change.

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