On Thursday, the Federal Elections Commission extended an additional six-year exemption to the Socialist Workers Party which allows them to keep the names of their donors secret. The commies are the only political party in the country that continue to enjoy being able to play politics under this different set of rules from everybody else
It is time for a mega freep. This is insane.
From THEIR SITE http://ww.themilitant.com/2003/6706/670650.html
Socialists defend right to campaign in elections
SWP files for six-year extension of exemption
from federal requirement to provide names
of campaign contributors
BY PAUL PEDERSON
The Socialist Workers National Campaign Committee has filed a request with the Federal Election Commission for a six-year extension of the partys exemption from requirements to report the names of financial contributors. The letter was filed on the partys behalf by attorney Michael Krinsky, a senior partner at the New York firm of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman. The FEC is expected to decide on the request in the first few months of this year.
The partys fight for the exemption is part of its decades-long support for the right of workers, farmers, and their organizations to engage in political activity, including elections, free from government and right-wing harassment. The communist movement has consistently opposed every measure by the capitalist rulers and their hired thugs to assert a monopoly over the right to organize, the ability to carry out political action, and the possibility to be heard by the working population.
The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has run candidates for office since 1938 and fielded candidates for president and vice president in every election since 1948. These socialist campaigns serve as a platform to reach out with revolutionary ideas to a broad working-class audience, as well as to defend the partys ability to function on the same footing as any other political organization in the United States.
First Amendment rights
Under a 1979 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ruling, which has been extended several times since then, the Socialist Workers Party has won an exemption from a federal requirement to report the names of contributors to its election campaigns, as well as the names of vendors with whom campaign committees do business.
The 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act required candidates and campaign committees to file detailed reports listing all those who contribute more than $200 to its campaigns--names, addresses, and occupations, as well as amounts contributed. These reports are open to the public, making them a convenient "enemies list" for government agencies, employers, private spy agencies, and right-wing groups and individuals.
The SWP won the exemption on the basis of the threat to First Amendment rights to free association posed by the disclosure of campaign contributors names. The partys recent request for extension of this protection cites 74 examples of harassment and threats--all since the previous extension was granted in 1996--directed at supporters of the Socialist Workers Party by right-wing individuals and groups, employers, and city, state, and federal police. It includes corroborating newspaper clippings, police reports, citations, and individual declarations.
The examples of harassment include 28 cases of police interference with election campaign activities, such as stopping campaign supporters from distributing literature, threatening to arrest campaign workers, photographing participants in an antiwar demonstration, issuing citations, and in many cases expressing hostility to the views of the socialists and their right to present them publicly.
Dozens of other examples are cited of threats and disruption, such as office break-ins and vandalism, threats by bosses, death threats, and physical assaults such as the overturning of campaign tables by right-wing or racist individuals.
In each case supporters of the party were carrying out constitutionally protected activities such as distributing campaign materials and political literature on street corners, plant gates, or mine portals; organizing meetings on campuses; or engaging in protest activity.
Since the 1971 FEC Act was passed, the Socialist Workers campaign committees have refused to turn over the names of campaign contributors on the grounds that this would open these individuals up to victimization by government and private sources.
In 1974 a lawsuit was filed in federal court on behalf of the Socialist Workers National Campaign Committee challenging the law as unconstitutional. Two years later, in a 1976 ruling on a case filed by another plaintiff (Buckley v. Valeo), the U. S. Supreme Court recognized that for particular parties "the threat to the exercise of First Amendment rights is so serious...that the Acts requirements cannot be constitutionally applied."
In 1979, after a five-year public campaign, the SWP won a federal court ruling that it was covered by the Buckley criteria and was exempt from federal reporting requirements. The FEC signed a consent decree requiring the Socialist Workers campaign committees to keep records of contributors and file reports with the election commission but without identifying contributors.
Then, in 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Socialist Workers 74 Campaign Committee, granted the SWP an exemption from state disclosure requirements in Ohio. That same year the court also exempted candidates of the Communist Party from federal reporting guidelines.
Since 1979 the party has fought for and won extensions of the federal ruling, as well as parallel exemptions from state disclosure laws. In 1996, however, the FEC imposed a restriction on the exemption, ruling that the SWP campaign committee must assign a code number for each contributor and report those numbers.
In the recent letter to the FEC on behalf of the SWP, attorney Michael Krinsky cited three further court rulings just from the past few years underlining the justice of the partys request to extend its exemption. A 1995 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the principles of both the Buckley and Brown decisions, as did another of its decisions four year later. Krinsky also called special attention to a 1998 Texas Supreme Court decision holding that associations should be exempt even if the potential consequences of disclosure are much less serious than those documented by the Socialist Workers Party.
In the Brown v. Socialist Workers case, for example, the Texas court ruled, "the campaign committee introduced evidence of harassment including threatening phone calls, hate mail, destruction of property, and physical violence.... However, such a factual record of violent past harassment is not the only situation in which courts have recognized a political infringement of an associations First Amendment rights."
FBI disruption campaign
Another of the central arguments presented by Krinsky in the recent letter to the FEC is the findings from a landmark 15-year legal battle, won by the SWP in 1986, that revealed a decades-long campaign of harassment, spying, and disruption by the FBI and other political police agencies. The ruling in that lawsuit, Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General, placed an injunction on the FBI against using the files it collected through burglary, infiltration, surveillance, and other such methods used against the SWP.
This systematic harassment and victimization by the federal government goes back to the late 1930s, as the U.S. government was preparing for its entry into World War II. At that time, the Democratic Party administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt strengthened the FBI as a national political police force to crack down on labor militancy and opposition to U.S. war moves among the working-class vanguard that had emerged from the class battles of the 1930s. In 1941, 18 leaders of the Teamsters union and Socialist Workers Party were prosecuted and convicted on frame-up conspiracy charges for their opposition to the imperialist war campaign; they were imprisoned in 1944-45.
By 1942, the FBI had nearly 24,000 FBI informers reporting on union and political activities in almost 4,000 factories, mines, and mills. The disruption campaign was also aimed at the rising movement for Black rights, with agents infiltrating the NAACP and other civil rights organizations. These activities of the secret police continued after the war and expanded with the rising civil rights battles and movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s. The FBI labeled these operations the Counterintelligence Program, or Cointelpro.
Krinsky points out that the FBI amassed 8 million documents on the SWP. Over the period 1960-76, it employed a total of about 1,300 informers--including 300 who entered the party--and paid them $1.6 million for their spying and disruption work. The federal cops conducted more than 200 burglaries of the partys offices.
In 1948, the Socialist Workers Party was put on the Attorney Generals list of "subversive" organizations, a blacklist used to bar from federal employment any members or supporters of targeted organizations. The list was officially ended in 1974, as public outrage against such practices increased in the wake of the Watergate scandal during the administration of president Richard Nixon.
A record of this political battle and court victory against government disruption and harassment can be found in several books and pamphlets published by Pathfinder Press: FBI on Trial: The Victory in the Socialist Workers Party Suit against Government Spying; Cointelpro: The FBIs Secret War on Political Freedom; Workers Rights vs. the Secret Police; and "Washingtons 50-year Domestic Contra Operation" in issue no. 6 of New International, a magazine of Marxist politics and theory.
The victory in the lawsuit against the government was made possible by the political space opened up through the battles for civil rights, womens rights, and against the U.S. war in Vietnam that took place from the 1950s to 1970s.
One case Krinsky points to is a historic victory won in the 1950s by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) against the government of Alabama, which had demanded it turn over a list of its members. At the time the local and state authorities in Alabama were part of the forces using police repression and lynch-mob terror to attack the rising movement against Jim Crow segregation that the NAACP was helping to lead.
As cops and sheriffs doffed their uniforms at the end of the workday, many donned their Ku Klux Klan robes or reported for duty as night riders for the White Citizens Council. The Alabama NAACP refused to turn over the names of its members and won a victory in the Supreme Court in 1958.
The Court ruling stated, "We hold that the immunity from state scrutiny of membership lists which the [NAACP] claims on behalf of its members is here so related to the right of the members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment."
74 incidents of harassment
After describing the "long history of governmental harassment" against the Socialist Workers Party, Krinsky points out that "the federal animus against the SWP continues." The 74 incidents cited for the years 1996-2002 make a strong case for this argument.
One example that received significant publicity is the case of Michael Italie, the Socialist Workers candidate for mayor of Miami in 2001, who was fired from his job as a sewing machine operator at Goodwill Industries, a U.S. government contractor, for views he expressed during his campaign.
Italie spoke in a televised mayoral debate against the U.S. assault on Afghanistan, in support of the Cuban Revolution, and in favor of unions. His employer fired him telling him his "views on the U.S. government are contrary to those of this agency." Italie waged a nationwide fight against this political firing and gained considerable support and media coverage.
In Des Moines, Iowa, the Socialist Workers campaign headquarters was defaced in September 2000. Pigs feet were shoved through the mail slot, chicken livers were thrown at the front and side walls, and the front windows were pelted with eggs. An article on the attack in the Des Moines Register quoted SWP spokesperson Joe Swanson, who pointed out that the city police were not doing a serious investigation of the incident.
In February 2002, a break-in occurred at the Socialist Workers campaign office in Houston. A window was smashed, a computer table broken, and a scanner destroyed. A flyer in the window announcing a Militant Labor Forum on the Palestinian struggle was defaced, with a knife slit across the picture of a Palestinian child. The next day, Socialist Workers congressional candidate Anthony Dutrow denounced the attack in an interview on KPFT radio.
The 74 reports also show that Socialist Workers campaign supporters have continued to exercise their right to engage in political activity despite such harassment. They give a picture of the breadth of this activity, as socialist workers and youth have spoken out against Washingtons war drive in the Mideast, participated in protests and public meetings, run in election campaigns, and distributed political literature at factory plant gates, door-to-door, on street corners, and on campuses in cities across the United States.
The fight for workers rights today
The socialists fight to maintain the protection against disclosure of contributors to their election campaigns takes place at a time of stepped-up attacks on workers rights by the employers and government. The 2001 USA Patriot Act, for example, gives wider latitude to the FBI and other political police agencies to conduct wiretapping and carry out arbitrary searches and seizures in private homes and businesses.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has announced new rules allowing FBI agents to snoop on public meetings, churches and mosques, and political and civic organizations.
In New York and other cities, local police and government officials are seeking to rehabilitate political police units known as "red squads," which had been officially curtailed during the 1970s and 80s. In Chicago, for example, a court last year reversed a consent decree limiting the spying powers of the local cops. The 1974 lawsuit resulting in that decree revealed that the red squad had routinely engaged in burglaries, blackmail, warrantless wiretaps, illegal arrests, and provocations. In New York the police department is seeking to reverse a 1985 consent decree curbing the legal ability of the cops to gather files on individuals and organizations.
These and other moves today are probes by the U.S. rulers to see how far they can roll back earlier gains. The outcome will be determined in struggle.
In that context, the current request by the Socialist Workers National Campaign Committee for exemption from the federal disclosure requirement is part of the fight today to defend the political rights of workers, farmers, and others exercising their constitutional rights.
Messages urging the FEC to extend the exemption can be sent to the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. Contributions earmarked for this fight can be sent to the Socialist Workers National Campaign Committee, P.O. Box 14239, St. Paul, MN 55114.
Can't seem to find much on the FEC website. Let's get the full story before we Freep off the handle.
No wonder...Minnesota....I am surprised it's in St. Paul.
This is total bullsh*t! Victimized? What about the truth being exposed for once? Typical for the damn socialist to lurk in dark shadows!
Socialist Workers Party gets FEC exemption on revealing donors
By Sharon Theimer, Associated Press, 4/3/2003 11:45
WASHINGTON (AP) The Socialist Workers Party still faces the danger of harassment and can continue to keep the identity of its donors secret, the Federal Election Commission ruled Thursday.
The commission voted 4-2 to extend the party's long-standing exemption from FEC reporting requirements for political parties, including rules on identifying contributors.
The granting of the six-year extension came despite the opinion of two commissioners that times have changed and the party no longer faces significant harassment from the government.
Commissioner Danny McDonald voted against the extension, saying he saw only evidence of petty harassment of the party in recent years similar to what other political parties have faced. McDonald cited one case in which oranges were thrown at a party activist and another in which activists were cursed by political opponents.
''The true believers, when they send in a check, and they put it in the public record, they know it might be good for business and it might not be,'' McDonald said.
But the majority of the commissioners said that while harassment of the party has diminished, the organization's long history of threats coupled with anecdotal evidence from recent years justified extending the exemption.
Steve Clark, a member of the party's national committee, welcomed the FEC decision, saying that with the war on terrorism increasingly intruding on political activity, his party needed the protection.
''The times change back and forth,'' Clark said. ''Certainly the past year and a half there's been a much more open attempt by the federal government and states and local governments to push back political rights in this country.''
The Socialist Workers Party advocates a Marxist revolution to overthrow the U.S. government. Taking the Russian and Cuban revolutions of the 20th century as models, it wants to replace the country's capitalist system with a government of workers and farmers.
The exemption was first granted by a court in 1979 and last renewed by the commission in 1996.
The party, who counts its members in the hundreds, had candidates on the ballot in congressional and other races around the country last year; none won. It currently is protesting the war in Iraq.
On the Net:
That's nice.... *sarcasm off*
Who knows if they didn't send the treats to themselves to claim, "I'm being victimized!" I don't care who it is...no one should go by a differing set of rules for anything in politics!
That was then, this is now. We have a right to know who funds their subversive work.
Personally, I think most of the restrictions placed on political activity by the Congress and the F.E.C. are unconstitutional.
This really, really sounds like a 14th Amendment problem. If someone were to ever take FERC reporting requirements to court, there is no way this would ever stand up.
Askel5 account has been banned.
Yeah, but legal gun owners can be listed publicly, and they should use the socialist liberal nutcases who harass them to use the same 'law' tactic to stop that.
We need to learn from their dirty tricks
It's fine by me. Support them, and let 'em syphon off more votes from the Democraps!