Sean Treglia, a former
high-ranking operative of the Pew Charitable
Trusts, a foundation worth more than $4 billion,
last year openly admitted that passage of the
McCain-Feingold campaign finance law—which
bans political free speech in the 60 days leading
up to an election—was engineered, planned,
funded and executed by several lavishly wealthy,
In other words, it
was not a grassroots movement of people throughout
the country. It was a big scam. A fraud. A
con job. Or, to be more exact, a midnight assassination
hit on America’s First Amendment.
In an explosive videotape
obtained by the New York Post, Treglia is shown
bragging to a conference of professors and
so-called “journalists” at the
University of Southern California about how
he and his co-conspirators completely hoodwinked
the u.s. Congress and the American people into
buying the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (bcra)
I’m going to
tell you a story that I’ve never told
any reporter,” Treglia says on the tape.
“Now that I’m several months away
from Pew and we have campaign finance reform,
I can tell this story.”
According to Ryan
Sager, the New York Post reporter who first
broke the story, Treglia told of an elaborate
and expensive scheme whereby these foundations
funded non-profit front groups that in turn,
waged a jihad by proxy against free speech.
Nearly $140 million
was spent to lobby for changes to u.s. campaign
finance laws. Of that amount, $123 million—nearly
90 percent of the total—was spent by
just eight foundations.
What did they do with the money?
Here’s how the
shell game works:
Under the law, charitable
foundations may not legally lobby Congress.
Instead, they grant funding to non-profit groups—groups
often ginned up specifically for that purpose—who
can spend the money on lobbying and other activities
that foundations are barred from doing.
During debate on campaign
reform, non-profit groups with innocent-sounding
names like the Center for Public Integrity, the
Center for Responsive Politics and Democracy 21,
used their foundation grants to commission so-called
research, to create supposedly unbiased studies
to bait politicians and the press, and to plant
their stories and spokespersons in media across
the country as supposed non-political, honest brokers.
that I’m several months away
from Pew and we have campaign finance
reform, I can tell this story.”
Treglia said, “was to create an impression
that a mass movement was afoot—that everywhere
Congress looked, in academic institutions, in the
business community, in religious groups, in ethnic
groups, everywhere, people were talking about [campaign
In other words, it was all just smoke and mirrors,
just a carefully choreographed fraud perpetrated
by political groups who pretended not to have an
agenda—but whose true agenda was to destroy
the First Amendment right to free speech.
What’s truly remarkable is just how much they
got away with, so cheaply, with so few people and
as if all our gold at Fort Knox walked off overnight—yet
somehow no one ever even noticed a truck.
Who were the eight groups behind this assault on
chilling answer is that they include some of the
richest and most powerful anti-gun organizations
in America—or for that matter, the world.
One of them was George
Soros’ Open Society Institute, a primary source
of funding for the global gun-ban machine now working
within the United Nations to eliminate your Second
Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
The Open Society Institute is also a major donor
for gun-ban efforts within the United States. According
to the Capital Research Center, a watchdog group
that monitors foundations, the group gave some $400,000
in grants to the anti-gun Violence Policy Center
in 1999 alone.
Another group behind the campaign finance puppet
show was the $600 million Joyce Foundation, which
has a long history of supporting anti-gun causes.
In 2003 alone, Joyce
poured some $1.25 million into anti-gun efforts.
In 2004, its grants included $700,000 to the Illinois
Council Against Handgun Violence and $125,000 to
the San Francisco-based Legal Community Against
Violence—the same group that has been recruiting
cities across America to use its outlandish legal
theories to sue the American firearms industry into
major group funding the campaign finance juggernaut
was the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
whose $4.4 billion in assets makes it one of the
10 largest “philanthropies” in America.
Over the years, it too has funded anti-gun groups
including the Violence Policy Center, the “Handgun
Epidemic Lowering Plan Network” and the Legal
Community Against Violence.
It should be no surprise that the groups pushing
bans on free speech would also support gun bans.
After all, several members of Congress openly admitted
that the whole point of “campaign reform”
was to silence gun owners like you.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, d-Ill., said, “If
my colleagues care about gun control, then campaign
finance is their issue so that the nra does not
call the shots.”
U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro, d-Conn., and
Marty Meehan, d-Mass., and u.s. Senator Dick Durbin,
d-Ill., also referred to the nra’s pro-Second
Amendment political communications as a problem
to be solved by campaign “reform.”
To sell their scheme to
the American public, the press, politicians and
groups behind it lied about the “crisis”
in American politics and how their law would solve
They said their
speech ban would take “special interests”
out of politics and give political power back to
the common man on the street.
In reality, their ban did exactly the opposite:
It took the common man out of the political arena.
And it greased the skids for the consolidation of
political power by those who had plenty already
—politicians and the press.
Think about it. Under the law those groups stampeded
through Congress, ordinary Americans like you and
me are effectively barred from engaging in political
speech in the 60 days before an election.
In other words, the people who are still allowed
to speak out in those
60 days—the candidates themselves and the
national media—have a virtual monopoly on
foundations responsible for imposing that moratorium
on free speech are free to operate as they always
have:Setting up subsidiary non-profit groups. Funding
grants for anti-gun “research” and activism.
Encouraging their non-profit flunkies to do their
lobbying for them. And throughout it all, behaving
as if their actions are above question, their motives
above reproach and their integrity unassailable.
Consider the height of
that hypocrisy—and the depth of the duplicity—of
the national media, which allowed it to happen without
so much as a sound.
If anyone should recognize and rally to stop attacks
on freedom of speech, you’d expect it to be
the national networks, newspapers and so-called
all, whenever anyone questions their abuses of that
right, they band together and self-righteously squeal
Yet when McCain-Feingold and its “charitable”
cheerleaders in these shadowy organizations attempted
to shut down the machinery of political debate in
the United States, the media were unaccountably
Could it be
because the foundations and non-profits pushing
campaign “reform” were wining and dining
the media with political hush money?
According to New York Post writer Sager, they’ve
already invested millions in grants to the media,
than $1.2 million given to National Public Radio
(npr), including about $400,000 that paid for a
program called “Money, Power and Influence.”
» $132,000 to underwrite
a special “Checkbook Democracy” issue
of the liberal magazine The American Prospect. The
magazine never mentioned all the money it had received
to turn public opinion against the use of money
to influence public opinion.
$935,000 to the Radio and Television News Directors
Foundation to “help journalists provide better
coverage of the influence of private money on electoral,
legislative and regulatory processes.”
Of course, in the eyes
of the media, these contributions didn’t add
up to chump change when compared to the awesome
increase in influence they’d enjoy as soon
as campaign “reform” shut ordinary Americans
out of the political process.
And really, the distinction doesn’t matter:
Even if the media weren’t completely in cahoots,
then they were ignorant and negligent to the point
of criminality. Either way, I believe they’re
You want proof? Go onto the Internet. Do a few searches
on Treglia and Pew and “campaign finance reform”
and see how many national news stories you find.
The day that story came
to light, it should have been on the front page
of every newspaper and the lead story on every network.
Yet as of this writing, you could count the number
of national newspapers covering the scandal on the
fingers of one hand.
That’s a crime.
Try it for yourself and you’ll see what I
mean. Cut out this story and take it to your local
newspaper or network affiliate. See if they’ll
suddenly decide that the wholesale destruction of
free speech is worth a 30-second segment between
the local dog show and high school sports. You can
bet they won’t.
Now, what does all of this really mean? Why is it
First, forget the marketing moniker of “campaign
Clear away all the confusion, distractions and mish-mash
minutia about money, spending limits, reporting
requirements, disclosure decrees and all the rest
of the tax-code lawyerese in the Supreme Court’s
multi-page, 5-to-4 decision upholding McCain-Feingold.
Forget Republican or Democrat,
liberal or conservative, or which team wins, which
benefits from this or that provision in the law.
This is infinitely
more important than the partisan wrangling of politics
or the contemporary tactics of legal jousting.
This is about freedom.
Your freedom has been
not mince words.
can be no freedom of speech when political speech
is specifically forbidden before an election to
corporations, unions and a host of advocacy groups.
If there’s anything
the Framers of the Constitution wished to protect
when they penned the First Amendment, it was political
free speech as a balance beam for elections.
If it weren’t for
free speech, Thomas Paine and those colonial pamphleteers
would have been jailed. Our Revolution never would
have been fought. And our Bill of Rights never would
A cornerstone of constitutional democracy has been
knocked out from under us by a hit-and-run driver
in the middle of the night with his headlights off
and his license plates hidden.
If they can prosecute you as a felon for engaging
in free speech in the 60 days before an election—in
other words, precisely when it counts—what’s
to stop them from prosecuting you for influencing
elections in any way?
And why do I have to be the first one to stand up
and say so?
It’s only a matter of time before they come
back for more. In fact, they’re already asking
just ask the Federal Election Commission (fec),
which has been sued by some of these leftist pro-“reform”
groups to begin regulating free political speech
on the Internet—and is now under court order
to do just that.
Bradley Smith, a commissioner of the Federal Election
Commission, has warned that, “It is very likely
that the Internet is going to be regulated”
under the McCain-Feingold free-speech ban. In fact,
the fec already has draft regulations to do so,
effective ban on some online news and commentary
effective ban on banner and “popup”
An effective ban on the use of company-owned computer
equipment for political communications.
You can bet this is only the beginning of a tortuous
and tragic journey whose ultimate destination is
obvious to anyone who’s ever read history.
From the point of
view of our constitutional freedoms, the McCain-Feingold
campaign “reform” law is the most dangerous
and destructive legislative atrocity to come out
of Congress in decades, maybe ever.
You shouldn’t have to retain a team of attorneys,
hire a high-priced accounting firm, register yourself
as a political action committee or live in eternal
fear of going to jail for a federal felony simply
for engaging in free speech.
That’s not freedom.
The people responsible for this wholesale abrogation
of our First Amendment, I believe, are guilty of
a capital crime against our Constitution.
By denying freedom of speech to entire classes of
persons, surely it must qualify as discrimination.
Is it a violation of the
equal protection clause? Could you call it conspiracy
to violate civil rights?
Whatever the determination, I believe that those
who misused freedom of speech to destroy freedom
of speech in the United States are guilty and should
your help to right the wrongs they’ve committed.
The individuals and groups
responsible for this should be rooted out and identified
for all Americans to see.
At the nra, we’re going to expose their backroom
going to expose their dirty million-dollar deals.
Because if we allow
this crime to stand, it puts these anti-freedom
foundations above the law.
It frees them to spend mountains of money to cripple
our democracy and permanently silence those who
stand in their way.
And it gives them a blank check to destroy not just
the First Amendment, but also the Second Amendment
and our entire Bill of Rights forever.
In the months ahead, I’ll be calling on you
to join me in this fight. Because this is a fight
we dare not sidestep nor surrender. This is a fight
for our most precious freedoms.