Patrick Leahy Awards Mike Carvin Award for “Highest Level of Sarcasm” Before Congress

September 13th, 2012

Mike Carvin, who split time at the podium with Paul Clement during NFIB v. Sebelius, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Citizens United. It seems he ticked off Senator Leahy.

So what did Carvin say?

“Telling the Washington Post that they can’t spend money to endorse Barack Obama is no different than telling the Washington Post they can’t endorse Barack Obama,” Carvin said. Later, he added, “Surely no one thinks you could pass a law prohibiting MSNBC from endorsing Barack Obama, even though it used to be owned by General Electric and it’s still a corporation.”

So everyone thinks some corporations have free speech rights, Carvin said — but someone needs to explain why other corporations have become “the red-headed stepchild of the Constitution that is unable to speak.”

Carvin said the argument generally goes that corporations have too much money, and too much money gives them too much speech. But he said the notion that corporations are drowning out political speech is “completely unsubstantiated rhetorical nonsense.” He referenced testimony about the Supreme Court decision in June to strike down Montana’s efforts to limit campaign contributions, a decision bound by the Citizens United decision from 2010.

To this, Leahy responded:

“We should probably give you the award for saying the highest level of sarcasm we’ve heard before this committee in a long time.”

I interviewed Mike Carvin for my book about the challenge to the ACA. Mike was the only person I interviewed who said *everything* on the record. Everything. I got some really choice quotations that he insisted I could quote him on.