I have followed with interest the debate between Larry Stirling (“The first liar wins,” Feb. 5) and Scott Peters (“The case for an amendment dismantling Citizens United,” Feb. 24), and I can’t help but think that Peters is running scared in his race against Carl DeMaio.
Why else would a first-term congressman be proposing to amend the U.S. Constitution to restrict free speech? This is a radical — indeed, reckless and indefensible —position.
What Peters disparages as “dark money” is simply contributions made by individuals or corporations wishing to participate in the political process, just as labor unions do. (Peters doesn’t complain about labor unions “drowning out the impact of regular people” because the unions support him.)
That is what the First Amendment protects. In a democracy, everyone has a voice, and in a free society no one is gagged. If Peters doesn’t agree with the message being espoused by his opponents, he should refute it on the merits, not try to suppress it or demonize its messengers.
Peters is running against Carl DeMaio, not the Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, or the other groups he demagogues against. Perhaps Peters realizes that running on his record is a losing cause, so out of desperation he wants to change the subject to Citizens United.
Even here, Peters is out of the mainstream.
Most legal scholars (as opposed to partisan hacks) recognize that Citizens United was correctly decided. Peters should stick to the issues, such as explaining why he voted on the San Diego City Council (along with Donna Frye) to evict the Boy Scouts from Balboa Park and pay the ACLU a million dollars in attorney’s fees to settle a lawsuit that the Ninth Circuit unanimously concluded was meritless.
This was one of the most ignominious decisions ever made by a local elected official. Explain that, if you can.