When Richard Blumenthal stuck up for the Catholic Church 

The smart early money right now is on Connecticut Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal, D., winning Chris Dodd's Senate seat next year. As a free-market conservative, there are plenty of things I don't like about Blumenthal's record, which other conservative bloggers will rightly document and excoriate. But lobbying is my beat, and on that topic, Blumenthal made a smart and fair move.

Back over the summer, the Connecticut government declared war on the Catholic Church. First, some lawmakers wanted to regulate Church finances. When the Bridgeport diocese organized a rally against such an interference with the free exercise of religion, the Office of State Ethics came calling, accusing the Church of illegally lobbying, and threatening to further regulate the diocese as a lobbying organization.

The OSE called in Atty. Gen. Blumenthal to lay the smack down on the Bridgeport bishop, but Blumenthal refused to rid the state of this meddling priest. In a letter, Blumenthal wrote, "Serious constitutional and other legal concerns raised by this lawsuit compel me to conclude that Connecticut’s lobbying registration laws cannot and should not be enforced in this factual situation against the Church." At a press conference, he said, “There are serious and significant potential chilling effects on protected First Amendment, free expression rights for any group under these circumstances.”

So, while Blumenthal seems to have a deep belief in the power and the importance of government, in this case, he came down on the side of liberty.

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Timothy P. Carney

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