US

Former FEC Chair: First Amendment Responsible For More ‘Violent Hate Crimes’ Than Terrorism

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Rudy Takala Contributor

A “libertarian interpretation” of the First Amendment is responsible for more “violent hate crime” in the United States than terrorism, a former Federal Election Commission chair claimed Thursday.

“The libertarian interpretation of the 1st Amendment has permitted a huge spike in violent hate crimes in the US – many more than foreign attacks,” former FEC Chair Ann Ravel wrote on Twitter.

Ravel linked to a story noting a statistic from the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League, which found that 78% of the 50 U.S. murders related to extremism in 2018 were carried out by white supremacists. The story also noted the FBI has approximately 5,000 open terrorism investigations around the world, of which 850 are in the U.S. (RELATED: Democrat Who Sought To Regulate Drudge Running To Represent Silicon Valley In California Senate)

Ravel, who is running as a Democrat for a seat in the California Senate, did not say how she would modify free-speech rights to address the issue, though her record provides some indication. During her 2013-17 tenure as a commissioner on the FEC, Ravel sought to limit the kind of political content users could place on websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: Federal Election Commission (FEC) in Washington, DC on September 10, 2016. The mission of the FEC is to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Credit: Shutterstock/Mark Van Scyoc | Dem FEC Commissioner European Travel

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 10: Federal Election Commission (FEC) in Washington, DC on September 10, 2016. The mission of the FEC is to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Credit: Shutterstock/Mark Van Scyoc | Dem FEC Commissioner European Travel

Critics said the efforts were aimed at stifling conservative websites, especially the Drudge Report, which Ravel faulted for death threats she received online.

Before joining the FEC, Ravel chaired the California Fair Political Practices Commission, where she led an effort to crack down on bloggers who advocated for or against political candidates. (RELATED: Deep State At FEC Quits: ‘Looks Like The Republic Might Survive’)

More recently, Democrats have railed against online speech for allegedly encouraging the perpetrators of mass shootings, though Ravel made no mention of a March mosque attack that killed 49 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The perpetrator in that case streamed the first 17 minutes of his attack on Facebook Live; it was subsequently posted to several other sites.

Telecom companies in New Zealand blocked customers from accessing many of those smaller websites after the attack, but never extended the ban to Facebook.

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