CEI Releases Video Defending Rights to Free Speech


“No American should fear being singled out and harassed by a government official who takes a different point of view on public policy questions.” – Competitive Enterprise Institute President Kent Lassman

That is the message of a new video released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today. CEI is fighting vigorously to defend all Americans’ right to free speech in light of an intimidation campaign involving several government officials seeking to silence dozens of individuals and organizations.

When CEI received a burdensome subpoena in April 2016 from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker for simply disagreeing on a policy matter, CEI did not take this attack on the First Amendment lying down. Instead, CEI fought back by bringing charges in court against the government official who threatened the organization’s free speech rights.

“Our first reaction was ‘Hell no! This thing is one unconstitutional fishing expedition,’” says CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman in the video, describing CEI’s commitment to stand up against the subpoena.

And the best news? CEI is making strides. The subpoena has been dropped and the group now awaits a ruling in its motion for sanctions against the attorney general.

“Regardless of which policies you support, all Americans should be concerned about any assault on free speech,” said CEI President Kent Lassman. “For CEI, the policy issue was how to address climate change. But allowing government officials to target and punish Americans who they disagree with is a dangerous precedent to set for any politically-charged topic. What will be next: Vaccines? Stem-cell research? Abortion? Our beliefs and how we debate them should never depend on which politician is in power.”

Watch the video:

See more from CEI President Kent Lassman here.

View the details about CEI’s subpoena battle here