SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 5, 2012

Limiting political spending on ballot

(Continued)

“I fled that country for precisely the reason that I could not speak freely,” he said. It’s the contrast in America that inspires his devotion to the Bill of Rights, including the prohibition “Congress shall make no law .... abridging the freedom of speech.” “I take those rights very seriously and consider them very precious.”

All this began with the McCain-Feingold Act, passed by Congress in 2002, and designed to limit the ability of corporations and unions to make donations to political campaigns, particularly in the month prior to a presidential election. In 2009 an appeal to the Supreme Court by a group called Citizens United, an organization stymied prior to the 2008 election in their efforts to show a movie critical of Hillary Clinton, convinced a narrow majority of justices that speech emanating from a corporation could not be limited in this way any more than speech from an individual.

“I said, ‘That’s crazy,’” recalls Driscoll. “Corporations are not people and are not entitled to the rights of human beings.”

Opponents of the decision have since launched the effort to undo it via a Constitutional amendment. Driscoll has been devoting a lot of time to that convoluted and often frustrating process. “It got me so fired up I said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do next.’”

She’s stood in the freezing cold protesting, trying to urge state and federal leaders to act. With no previous background in politics, she’s also done a lot of study on the issue, learning the process as she goes. Challenge her with concerns over the impact on free speech, and she responds that they are addressed in the proposed amendment. It will, for example, exempt media corporations like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Meanwhile, Driscoll has grown confident that the crusade can succeed, “if we get the American people behind this.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Election

Local News
  • State sets tax holiday BOSTON -- Shoppers will get a holiday from the state sales tax on Aug. 16 and 17, after state lawmakers finally agreed on a weekend. The tax-free holiday has been an annual event since 2004, with the exception of 2009, when the state raised the sales

    August 1, 2014

  • crab Little green invaders threatening local clam flats IPSWICH -- The green crab is eating our lunch. It's been eating its way through Northeastern shellfish for years, and some local experts are worried that the undersized crustacean, about 31/2 to 4 inches across, has reached critical mass. The creatur

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shoppers1 Despite shopping elsewhere, Market Basket customers remain loyal

    SALEM -- Local Market Basket customers can't hold out any longer as the company continues to weigh offers to buy the chain, including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. "I'm very proud of the employees and customers who have been holding out," s

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos 4 Stories

  • 140731_SN_DLE_APARTMENT6 Developer unveils new Peabody Square apartments PEABODY -- It's an indication of what he and his business partners want to do in the city's downtown, Norman Lee said Thursday as he showed off the stylish interiors of 10 brand-new apartments above Congressman John Tierney's office in Peabody Square

    August 1, 2014 10 Photos

  • Scandal raises questions about speaker's powers BOSTON -- The speaker of the state House of Representatives gets far-reaching powers to carve up the budget, control which bills advance, dole out committee chairmanships and reward favored lawmakers with plum office space on Beacon Hill. But the spe

    August 1, 2014