Sen. Cruz accuses Democrats of 1st Amendment assault

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is accusing Democrats of seeking an amendment to the Constitution that he says would diminish freedom of speech.

Cruz calls the amendment on campaign finance reform proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) an assault on the First Amendment.

“The contemplated amendment is simply wrong," Cruz wrote in an op-ed published late Sunday for the Wall Street Journal. "No politician should be immune from criticism. Congress has too much power already — it should never have the power to silence citizens.”

Udall’s amendment would overturn the Supreme Court decisions Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission from 2010 and the more recent McCutcheon v. FEC ruling, which both struck down limits on campaign contributions. 

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Forty-one Democrats have signed on to co-sponsor the amendment.

Cruz predicts the amendment would not pass through both chambers of Congress and three-quarters of state legislatures. 

“Still, it's a reflection of today's Democratic disrespect for free speech that an attempt would even be made,” Cruz said. “There was a time, not too long ago, when free speech was a bipartisan commitment.”

Cruz claims Democrats have already begun their attack on the First Amendment. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), for instance, “slanders” private citizens on the Senate floor for their political speech, Cruz said. 

That is a reference to Reid's repeated attacks on David and Charles Koch, who have given tens of millions to conservative causes.

If adopted, Cruz said it could prohibit the National Rifle Association from distributing voter guides meant to inform voters about politicians’ Second Amendment records.

“Congress could ban books, movies (watch out Michael Moore) and radio programs — anything not deemed "the press" — that might influence upcoming elections,” he claimed. 

Senate Democrats have said they plan to hold a vote on Udall’s amendment by the end of this year.