Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

The Political Vine is the home of political news, satire, rants, and rumors.


SB-127 (aka, “Georgia Republican Politicians Are At it Again”)

by Bill Simon

SB 127 (aka “Incumbent Protection Act” AND “Our Attempt to Destroy PV’s Right To Free Speech”)

I have to say, you folks in the State Legislature are a trip.  Really.  While there are other organizations and people ‘communicating’ (can’t say “lobbying” can we?) with some of you right now on SB-127 to implore you to kill it…I’m going to take an ever-so different tact.

I’m going to encourage you to pass SB-127, and pass it with overwhelming votes.  You want to know why?  Because of that little gem “someone” has thought to insert where Lines 428-444 are for new law that describes what “Communication” will now mean, and what “Election targeted issue advocacy” could now mean in Georgia elections for the hundreds of people and organizations and radio stations and newspapers, etc. when they promote/endorse a candidate or promote/advise against a candidate or ballot issue.

The key part of these new definitions is that whoever engages in activity that meets qualifications as defined in this new law (e.g., Line 434-Line 435: “(E) Mailings that are sent or distributed to 100 or more households; or (F) Printed materials that exceed 1,000 copies.”), well, they (“they” being a person or any group or a newspaper, etc.) will have to register with the State Ethics Commission as a “Campaign Committee.” Which is a specific term defined in the law now.  And, then be subjected to all sorts of disclosures, etc. as to the make-up and/or financing of that entity.

Now, for years now, I know there are many, many, many people who (e.g., Gwinnett DA Danny Porter, of most recent time, who, rather than have the balls to actually send a letter-to-the-editor to this publication to deny any of my claims against him, has taken to getting a note published on a blog site known for sucking-up to government entities) are anxious for an opportunity to kick my ass legally for the content and the ideas I deliver via this publication.

That’s why I want you folks to pass this bill.  Because there will be someone (likely, no less than five “someones”) who will file an ethics complaint against me to claim that I am engaged in either “political communication” or “election targeted issue advocacy” as defined by OCGA without properly registering as a “Campaign committee.”

Why would I want that ethics complaint? Because, seriously, the Name ID of the Political Vine (and, moi) is not yet a national name/reputation.  AND…I have no less than 4 attorneys in mind who have the legal chops to destroy any moron the AG’s office would be hiring to defend this law in federal court. 

Now, my wants and needs aside, I feel compelled to point out just a few things regarding this proposed law.  Not that I care if you bother to take them into consideration, but for the few of you who actually might not like getting duped by your caucus “leadership (sic)”, you might want to know about these cases:

2011 Veto by Governor Nathan Deal of then SB-163 which was an attempt back then to do very close to the same thing that SB-127 is now trying to do:

“Senate Bill 163 attempts to address the issue of campaign communications in campaigns for state or local office that apparently have failed to provide sufficient clarity on who paid for the communication and whether a candidate authorized such communication.  The issue of campaign finance reform has been a consistent theme in Washington, DC and federal court decisions have shown that any type of limitation on the First Amendment right to engage in political speech will receive tough scrutiny. See Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010). Such tough scrutiny would be especially likely where a violation of limitations on political speech would constitute a crime – as this legislation provides.  It is my assessment that, while the legislation is well intended, the potential vagueness in what constitutes “general public political advertising or literature” and “any colorable imitation of the name of an existing person or organization” would constitute significant First Amendment concerns.  Furthermore, as has been the case at the federal level, this legislation would likely add significant operational burdens to producing and distributing campaign messages in the variety of mediums that candidates and citizens now use to engage in political speech.  Accordingly, I VETO SB 163.

1994 SCOTUS Decision on McIntyre v Ohio Elections Commission

2010 SCOTUS Decision on Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission

BUT….nevermind these trivial, whackjob court decisions by a bunch of people (none of whom, by the way, who have ever sat on that bench, have ever graduated from the University of Georgia, or the University of Georgia law school in its 200 some-odd year history…why is that, UGA?) located in a land far, far away…you “Legislators” should sally forth and pass this law.  Really.


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Political Vine Publication Disclosure

The Political Vine was established on July 24, 2000 by Georgia Republican political activist Bill Simon. All material contained herein (unless otherwise noted) is written by a commonsense political thinker whose agenda is to deliver researched facts, analysis, information, humor, and opinions in a satirical/sarcastic environment that is far different from any other news source you will come across.

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