Washington, D.C.—Live, from Washington, it’s Scoundrel of the Month!
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) probably thought he’d struck rhetorical gold when, during last month’s debate over a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, he floated the ominous possibility that the amendment would allow the government to jail the producers of Saturday Night Live. But CREW’s voters saw right through the senator’s hollow rhetoric and rewarded his fear-mongering with a decisive win in the race for September Scoundrel of the Month.
The amendment, which would have allowed the government to regulate money raised for and spent on elections, sparked a spirited debate in the Senate over the role of money in politics, a subject that has received scant attention in the halls of Congress despite overwhelming public opposition to recent Supreme Court decisions on the subject. Rather than debate the substance of the proposal, however, Sen. Cruz dishonestly accused the amendment’s proponents of favoring censorship. Standing beside a poster displaying past Saturday Night Live sketches spoofing politicians, Sen. Cruz warned of the show’s executive producer, “Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician.”
“Given how far out of step their position is with the American people, perhaps it’s no surprise that those like Sen. Cruz who support unlimited money in politics prefer to debate the straw man of censorship. Just as Sen. Cruz’s antics shut down the government, his participation in debates tends to shut down thoughtful discussion,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said.
Supporters of the amendment called out Sen. Cruz’s dishonesty, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling his claim “as far from the truth as it could be” and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) quipping of his colleague, “Sounds like he is on Saturday Night Live. It’s a very funny skit.” In the end, however, Sen. Cruz apparently wasn’t too concerned about the hypothetical censorship coming to pass: He missed the final vote on the amendment’s passage.
Nominations are already being accepted for October’s Scoundrel of the Month. People, entities, and agencies are all eligible. Submit your choices by Friday, October 24th. Voting will begin the following week.