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Indiana Attorney General Forbids Free Speech

The Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has warned Indiana political parties, with the exception of the Libertarian Party of Indiana that candidates for office may not make use of auto-dialers to send messages to their constituents. Citing a 1988 law concerning the commercial use of auto-dialers Mr. Carter has decided that it also applies to political speech. Imagine our surprise that an incumbent Republican would decide to place impediments to protected speech during an election year that holds the promise of change in the political make up at the State and Federal levels.

Attorney General Carter would do well to pay attention to a few things other than legislative whims that were clearly targeted at commercial enterprise. The Indiana Constitution is quite clear on matters of free speech and the creation of laws which restrict it. Section 9 of our State Constitution makes it abundantly clear that Mr. Carter is not only wrong but is also in violation of his oath of office.
Section 9: No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.
If Attorney General Carter is concerned with upholding the law, it would be prudent were he to begin by moving to strike down this particular law and with it his erroneous interpretation. It is clear that this "law" applies only to commercial transactions via auto-dialers and not political speech as he and his battery of state sponsored lawyers would contend.

It is our hope that Mr. Carter will see the error in his offices misinterpretation of this ill conceived legislation and remove any restrictions he has seen fit to attempt to impose upon Indiana's candidates for public office. Alternatively, if Mr. Carter fails in his duty to uphold the Constitution of the State of Indiana we would hope to see him removed from his current office, forfeit his posted bond and be returned to public life. Indiana already has an absurdly high bar to meet when running for public office and Mr. Carter's attempt to raise that bar ,in an area which his office should be holding no sway is an egregious abuse of power which does nothing other than aid and abet incumbents in their bids to retain power.

The people of Indiana deserve better and Mr. Carter should be made aware of that. Those wishing to contact Mr. Carter may do so at:

Office of the Indiana Attorney General
Indiana Government Center South
302 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-232-6201
Fax: 317-232-7979


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posted by M.R. Jarrell @ 10:46 AM,

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