Wikipedia Revolt: MO Politicians Sound Off on Web Law
SOPA and PIPA legislation causes a stir in Missouri political circles.
For procrastinators, Wednesday was especially difficult.
That’s because seemingly essential websites, such as Wikipedia, were blacked out to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. The House bill, commonly known as SOPA, and the Senate legislation, known as PIPA, are attempts at curbing piracy of popular media, such as movies and music.
But many opponents say the bills could have a much farther-reaching impact that could shut down sites, such as the aforementioned free online encyclopedia. Thus, Wednesday became the day where many sites opposed to the measures spoke out and urged people to contact lawmakers.
For this writer, Wednesday’s protest meant a pause in searching for factoids about Pakistani independence or the meaning behind Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box.” But it also served as a prompt for lawmakers and potential legislators to sound off on the issue.
For instance, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who initially cosponsored PIPA, announced on Wednesday afternoon he opposed the bill. He joined several other Republicans cosponsors, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who had abandoned support for the measure.
“While I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill—to protect against the piracy of lawful content,” Blunt said in a statement. “Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment.”
Blunt went on to say that he believes Congress “can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy and harm consumers.”
“But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward,” he saidd.
Ed Martin, an attorney running for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional House seat, has also spent some time over the last few days advocating against both SOPA and PIPA. In a statement on his campaign website, Martin said one of the “greatest blessings of the Internet age is the ability for anyone anywhere to share their beliefs and their opinions in and open and free manner.”
“The U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the U.S. Senate’s version of the bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are being sold to Americans as a means of protecting intellectual property rights,” Martin said. “Like any other federal power grab, the law is written so broadly that any website could be shut down for the thinnest of reasons.”
By the way, all three U.S. Senate candidates—former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), and Frontenac businessman John Brunner—released statements Wednesday announcing opposition to both measures.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) wrote on her Twitter account Thursday afternoon, "I was not a co sponsor of PIPA. I cannot support it in its current form."
WAGNER BAGS ‘CITIZEN UNITED’ ENDORSEMENT
Former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner, Martin’s opponent in the 2nd District GOP primary, recently got yet another endorsement in her congressional bid.
Wagner’s campaign announced the support of the Citizens United Political Victory Fund. That entity is the affiliated PAC of Citizens United, the group that served as a catalyst for a landmark Supreme Court decision on campaign finances.
“Ann Wagner will be a great leader in the U.S. House because she understands the private sector and knows the pro-growth policies it will take to get us out of the Obama Recession,” said David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United, in a statement.
“I am honored to have the full support of such a respected conservative organization such as Citizens United. They are at the front lines fighting for personal freedom, limited government, free enterprise, and the traditional family values that are the foundation of our own campaign. We are excited to add Citizens United as an ally to our ever expanding team as we position to reclaim America,” Wagner said.
As noted many times before, Wagner has received a bounty of endorsements in her run for Congress. Luminaries include former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
TALENT HITS THE INTERNET
Ahead of Saturday's South Carolina presidential primary, he took that advocacy a bit further when he was featured in a Web advertisement attacking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Talent, a Des Peres native who served in the U.S. House during the 1990s, said in the ad that Gingrich would make “outrageous” comments that would “blindside” colleagues.
“Chaotic decisions, erratic behavior,” Talent said in the ad. “It’s a problem when your own leader is the biggest political problem that you’re dealing with.”
Talent has been a Romney supporter for some time. Along with then-Gov. Matt Blunt and a number of other Missouri GOP leaders, he backed Romney’s 2008 bid for president.