Mike Flannery, the legendary political editor for Fox Chicago News, called me up late Wednesday afternoon looking for comment about the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision on campaign finance law handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court. I applaud Flannery for bringing balance in his story to counter the kind of apoplectic reactions that were common in the media that day.
The framers of the Constitution established the First Amendment primarily to protect political speech. Financial contributions to political candidates or organizations that are overtly political is a form of political speech. So, as I said on camera, the McCutcheon decision was a victory for the First Amendment. I said a lot of other stuff, too, but the nature of TV news is that you get one sound bite — about five seconds — to get your point across. I’ve done this a lot, and I’m happy with this one. [NOTE: The Heartland Institute is not a political outfit, but is a 501(c) nonprofit educational organization. I was speaking about the principle of the issue. Heartland doesn’t have a dog in that fight.]
I’m grateful for the opportunity to give balance to Flannery’s report, however brief … and despite the fact that I was identified as “Mike Lakely” on screen. The Heartland Institute was identified correctly. That’s all that matters.
Enjoy the clip below. I come in at about the 50-second mark. I especially liked Fox Chicago’s set-up, which noted Barack Obama is “one of” the most prolific political fundraisers in American history. There’s no “one of” required. He’s the champ.