James Madison Center for Free Speech

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The James Madison Center for Free Speech (JMCFS), founded in 1997, is largely the creation of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell [1][2] and Indiana/D.C. attorney James Bopp Jr. the attorney who pushed through Citizens United case in the Supreme Court and who is a staunch opponent of McCain-Feingold and any other campaign finance reform. Bopp serves as General Counsel to the organization. JMCFS has an extreme Right Christian orientation in addition to its opposition to all campaign finance reform.

Board of Directors includes Betsy DeVos GOP heavyweight and wife of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. Their personal and family foundation giving has been tied to the network of far-right Libertarian and conservative Christian think tanks, astro turf grassroots groups and Super PACs. They are members of the Dead Billionaires Club the elite fraction of the 1% who fund much of the far Right's political movements, campaigning and fundraising efforts.[3]

Mission Statement

On their website the organization posts the following mission statement:

"The James Madison Center for Free Speech was founded to protect the First Amendment right of all citizens to free political expression in our democratic Republic. Its purpose is to support litigation and public education activities in order to defend the rights of political expression and association by citizens and citizen groups as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."[4]

In practice, "all citizens" seems to have been more expressive of the viewpoint of the extreme Christian Right (See list of their activities, below).

Actions

  • JMCFS has supported the recognition of the Ten Commandments as one of America's founding texts.[5]
  • JMCFS opposed a measure proposed by the Federal Election Commission to ban nonprofits from expressing views on public policy.[6]

Corporate Officers

President – Wanda Franz, Ph.D., Morgantown, WV
Secretary – Darla St. Martin, Washington, D.C.
Treasurer – David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., Washington, D.C.

Board of Directors

Darla St. Martin, Washington, D.C.
David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., Washington, D.C.
Wanda Franz, Ph.D., Morgantown, WV
Betsy DeVos, Grand Rapids, Michigan
David Norcross, Washington, D.C.

References

  1. John David Dyche, Republican Leader: A Political Biography of Senator Mitch McConnell, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2009 p. 124 [1]
  2. Ann Southworth, 'Lawyers of the Right: Professionalizing the Conservative Coalition', Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2008, p. 30 [2]
  3. The Dead Billionaires Club – The Dead Can’t Vote, but Should They Give? - Brian Ross, Truth-2-Power.com 12.13.2011
  4. James Madison Center for Free Speech - Mission Statement
  5. William J. Federer, The Ten Commandments & Their Influence on American Law - A Study in History, Amerisearch, Inc., 2002, p. 7 [3]
  6. Mark Sidel, More Secure, Less Free?: Antiterrorism Policy & Civil Liberties after September 11, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2007 [4]