When gun control came up at the second Democratic presidential debate, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) rattled off the usual list of gun-control restrictions most of the Democratic candidates have publicly endorsed and added in something from 2002. He proposed changes to how money is spent by associations and others in politics. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as “McCain-Feingold,” once prevented associations, such as the NRA, and others from endorsing or criticizing candidates within 60 days of a general election. This was struck down on First Amendment grounds by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC (2010).
Many Democrats would like to regain the power to silence those they tax, restrict and regulate. To them it is inconvenient that the First Amendment protects the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (In plainer English, this provision protects our right to lobby.) They don’t like that, with its “freedom of speech” protections, the First Amendment prohibits the government from muzzling political speech they find inconvenient.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) agreed with Buttigieg’s appeal to prevent political speech. “Even we stopped the Koch brothers from spending at that time. If we can kick the Koch brothers out of Montana, we can do it in D.C., we can do it everywhere,” said Bullock.