Committee Members’ Free Speech in Jeopardy

Your Signature May Stop the FEC From Trampling on Your Rights

(Source: the January 2015 National Right to Work Committee Newsletter)

201501-nl-humptyThis month the National Right to Work Committee is providing supporters across the country with a much-needed opportunity to protect themselves, one by one, from Big Labor-friendly bureaucrats at the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Given FEC bureaucrats’ long track record of bullying pro-Right to Work Americans who try to exercise their First Amendment rights, this is an opportunity you can’t afford to pass up.

Over the years, FEC lawyers have repeatedly buried Right to Work officers under mountains of harassing subpoenas about the Committee’s Survey program, which informs members about which U.S. senators and congressmen support Right to Work — and which ones don’t.

FEC’s Biased Definitions Of ‘Member’ Have Been Rejected by Courts

Starting three decades ago, the FEC has tried to concoct rules that disqualify some or even all Right to Work members from “true” membership status.

Many members would thus be denied a voice in the legislative process.

Fortunately, Right to Work attorneys and attorneys representing other citizens’ groups have succeeded time and time again in getting the FEC’s artificial and biased definitions of “member” and “membership organization” struck down in court.

But as a safeguard, the Committee has long encouraged members to certify each year that they still consider themselves to be members and wish to retain the freedom to participate fully in the Committee’s federal lobbying activities.

Of course, Committee supporters’ signed membership ballots cannot prevent every kind of FEC harassment — such as the sweeping demand for Committee documents made by FEC lawyers a few years ago in connection with the Committee’s successful efforts to overturn the so-called “Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002.”

(Until the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated this law’s tight restrictions on the ability of the Committee and other grass-roots groups to expose anti-Right to Work politicians’ records through TV and radio ads, it steepened the electoral playing field’s tilt in favor of Organized Labor.)

Mark Mix Urges Members To Return Ballots Promptly

However, your signed and returned ballot will make it almost impossible for the FEC to declare that you have no associational free-speech rights.

To make it easy for Right to Work supporters to certify their Committee membership, Committee President Mark Mix, working with independent attorney Michael Avakian, recently sent out letters including membership ballots and pre-posted reply envelopes all around the country.

“The Committee is fighting for our freedom to ask all members — including new members who have not yet had an opportunity to fill out a membership ballot — to participate in our efforts to get federal candidates to pledge to support Right to Work,” said Mr. Mix.

“But signing and returning a membership ballot is the quickest and easiest way for each individual Right to Work member to protect his or her rights.

“If you don’t want the FEC ever to tell you that you have no right to be informed where your presidential and U.S. Senate and House candidates stand on Right to Work or to lobby them to change their position when appropriate, then the smartest thing you can do this month is sign and return your ballot to the Committee.

“Please verify that you got your letter and ballot in the mail.

“And then try to return your ballot immediately, so you can’t possibly forget.”

Letters Also Seek Members’ Input Regarding Committee Legislative Objectives

Mr. Mix’s letters also include surveys allowing members to offer their opinions on how much of the Committee’s resources should be devoted to federal and state lobbying programs over the coming year.

“Many members care most of all about our efforts to secure U.S. House and Senate votes on a national Right to Work law this year,” said Mr. Mix.

“But other members want us to focus on passing new state Right to Work laws and protecting existing ones. These are also very important battles.

“We need a wide variety of members’ input and their ever-more generous financial support in order to combat effectively the Big Labor political machine, which is estimated to spend roughly $1.7 billion in mostly compulsory-dues money on politics and lobbying over the course of every two-year election cycle.”