Cruz: 'SNL' Threatened by Campaign Finance Amendment
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) took to the Senate floor Wednesday (Sept. 10) with photos of Dana Carvey, Tina Fey and others from Saturday Night Live to take issue with the proposed Constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to re-regulate campaign finances in the wake of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision.
The amendment (S.J. Res. 19) is being debated before a planned Thursday vote.
Cruz said that with all the issues the Senate could be dealing with, it was discussing an amendment that "would repeal the free speech provisions of the First Amendment." He said that was not hyperbole.
Cruz came prepared with a copy of the First Amendment with the words "freedom of speech" and "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" parts drawn with a a red line.
He said the amendment would give the government "a blanket license to abridge political speech and that citizen speech rights were being used for partisan warfare."
He called it the most radical proposal being brought up in the time he has served and that if it were to pass--which is highly unlikely--the effects would be breathtaking.
And he was not done with the visual aids. He brought out pictures of Saturday Night Live political skits satirizing Sarah Palin, George Herbert Walker Bush and others and said he had asked his colleague on the Constitution subcommittee, the "very, very talented" former SNL writer and comedian Al Franken (D-Minn.), one of the amendment's backers, whether he believed Congress "should have the constitutional authority to prohibit Saturday Night Live from making fun of politicians," including Chevy Chase tripping and falling over just about everything and the "wickedly funny" send-up of Sarah Palin, a friend of his, by Fey. Franken's answer, says Cruz, was that he had no intention of doing any such thing. Cruz was not assuaged.
Cruz asserts that the amendment says the Congress can prohibit any corporation from engaging in political speech. "Well, NBC, which airs Saturday Night Live is a corporation," he said. "Under this Amendment 49 Democrats have signed their name to, Congress would have the power to make it a criminal offense. Lorne Michaels could be put in jail, under this amendment, for making fun of any politician. That is extraordinary, it is breathtaking, and it is dangerous."
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below.