“Corporations are people, my friend,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) famously said in the 2012 campaign. But now Republicans want to restrict the freedoms corporations have to speak out against things that Republicans want.
Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin joined the chorus of those calling out the hypocrisy from Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell said Monday that corporations like Coca-Cola, Delta, Microsoft and Major League Baseball shouldn’t express their opinion about political issues like the Georgia voter suppression law.
As the screen capture below from a 2012 Post report shows, it’s a dramatic change from McConnell’s previous support for the “free markets.”
Mitch McConnell corporations and speech (Screen capture)
Rubin cited his remarks from a 2012 speech:
“It is critically important for all conservatives — and indeed all Americans — to stand up and unite in defense of the freedom to organize around the causes we believe in, and against any effort that would constrain our ability to do so,” McConnell said an AEI speech.
He said restrictions on political contributions would require “government-compelled disclosure of contributions to all grass-roots groups, which is far more dangerous than its proponents are willing to admit.”
“This is nothing less than an effort by the government itself to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies,” McConnell said.
“McConnell has even filed multiple amicus curiae briefs in campaign cases insisting the rights of free speech and association implicit in corporate campaign donations are ‘fundamental’ and ‘of central importance,'” wrote Rubin.
But that all changed on Monday when McConnell decided corporate power should only be given when the corporations agree with him.
“It seems they do not like the First Amendment any more than the 14th or the 15th when it comes to robust access to the ballot for voters they suspect will support their opponents,” Rubin closed. “Their march to bully-boy authoritarianism continues as they prove once again that they are no friends of multiracial, robust democracy.”