Ted Cruz: Amendment threatens SNL

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from Politico,

Sen. Ted Cruz says the comedy of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is at risk and creator Lorne Michaels could be thrown in jail if a proposed Constitutional amendment on campaign finance is passed.

“Congress would have the power to make it a criminal offense, Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician. That is extraordinary. It is breathtaking and it is dangerous,” the Texas Republican argued on the Senate floor on Tuesday, with a board of stills from the late-night sketch show displayed behind him.

Cruz said that the proposal, which will face a vote Wednesday, gives Congress the authority to prohibit corporations from engaging in political speech.

“Well, NBC which airs Saturday Night Live, is a corporation,” Cruz said, who gave his own impression of Dana Carvey as President George H.W. Bush.

“I grew up watching Saturday Night Live, I love Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live over the years, has had some of the most tremendous political satire,” the senator said. “Who can forget in 2008, Saturday Night Live’s wickedly funny characterization of the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin?”

“It was wickedly funny and also [had] a profoundly powerful effect on people’s assessment of Gov. Palin, who’s a friend of mine, ” he added.

Cruz said he asked Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a former SNL actor and writer, whether he believed Congress should prohibit SNL from making fun of politicians.

“Now the good senator promptly assured me he had no intention of doing any such thing,” Cruz said. However, Cruz added that the debate was not about intentions, but the impact of the amendment.

Cruz, who has been lampooned on SNL himself, slammed Democrats for supporting what he called an “abominable provision.”

The Democrat-led measure aims to reform campaign finance laws including giving states larger control over fundraising and campaign spending. However it is not expected to pass. Rather, Democrats are putting the issue of campaign finance and big spending in the forefront ahead of November’s midterms. But top Republicans, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who penned an op-ed for POLITICO, have come out swinging. Like Cruz’s floor speech Tuesday, McConnell said the amendment is an assault on free speech.

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