Government Watch / Politics

Washington’s ongoing assault on free speech: An address by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Event Summary

With the emerging Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal continuing to make headlines, what are the implications for the future of free speech in America? On Friday, almost one year to the day after predicting growing threats to First Amendment rights, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) returned to AEI to comment on this unlawful effort to stifle free speech and proposed solutions aimed at ensuring equal protection for all citizens.

Lamenting the culture of intimidation cultivated by undue IRS scrutiny, Senator McConnell highlighted several organizations and individuals who have had their rights compromised while contending that the attacks were not limited and extend to all parts of government. He made the case for limited government oversight of free speech and noted that this would create an environment characterized by a competition of ideas that is consistent with the Founding Fathers’ original intent.
Noting that this widespread scrutiny is “not done in service of citizens, but rather to police them,” Senator McConnell commended and encouraged the ongoing investigations in the House of Representatives. He concluded by advocating for a thorough and complete investigation into the IRS scandal, urging all Americans to remain vigilant in defense of their fundamental rights.
–John VerWey

Event Description

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered remarks at AEI one year ago highlighting the growing threat to political speech, calling on Americans to unite in vigilant defense of the Constitution. In light of the emerging Internal Revenue Service scandal, Senator McConnell will again join AEI to comment on the use of government power to stifle speech and will propose solutions that protect the individual rights that are guaranteed to all citizens of the United States.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


9:45 AM

10:00 AM
Arthur C. Brooks, AEI

Mitch McConnell, US Senate (R-KY)

10:45 AM
Audience Question-and-Answer Session

11:00 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact John VerWey at, 202.862.5839.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact, 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Arthur C. Brooks has been the president of AEI since January 1, 2009. Previously, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. He is the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles on topics ranging from the economics of the arts to military operations research. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise” (Basic Books, 2012). Other books include “The Battle” (Basic Books, May 2010), “Gross National Happiness” (Basic Books, 2008), “Social Entrepreneurship” (Prentice-Hall, 2008) and Who Really Cares (Basic Books, 2006). Before pursuing his work in public policy, Brooks spent 12 years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles.

Mitch McConnell is currently serving in his fifth term representing the state of Kentucky in the US Senate. He has served as the Senate Republican leader since 2006 and holds senior positions on the Senate Appropriations, Agriculture, and Rules committees. Before assuming his current leadership position, Sen. McConnell served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles and was the majority whip in the 108th and 109th Congresses. Early in his career, McConnell worked as chief legislative assistant to former Sen. Marlow Cook (R-KY) and as deputy assistant attorney general to former president Gerald Ford. Before his election to the Senate in 1984, he served as judge executive of Jefferson County, KY, from 1978 until commencing his senatorial term on January 3, 1985.

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