House anti-censorship bill is a swing and a miss

March 9, 2023, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement responding to H.R. 140, the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act:

“H.R.140, the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act, is a great sounding bill, but in Washington, D.C., as we’ve learned from the Inflation Reduction Act, the titles of legislation do not always reflect what the legislation does. The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act specifically exempts federal law enforcement personnel from the provisions of the law in the exercise of their lawful duties.

“The perverse effect of this loophole is that the same FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and CISA which have overtly pressured social media platforms to censor political speech under the guise of counterterrorism appears to be exempt from its very provisions. Other government civil agencies would merely need to forward their disinformation ‘concerns’ to agencies expressly allowed to forward them to private sector entities including interactive computer services and social media companies. The net effect is that the legislation intended to stop the governmental censorship appears to write its allowance into law.

“Specifically, the proposed bill states, ‘Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an employee from engaging in lawful actions within the official authority of such employee for the purpose of exercising legitimate law enforcement functions…’ which excludes law enforcement from the provision defining censorship as ‘the removal or suppression of lawful speech, in whole or in part, from or on any interactive computer service’ if they are discharging their lawful duties without any enforcement provision or legal recourse for the censored. Similarly, it does nothing to roll back the lawful authority of CISA, FBI, et. al. to forward and provide information including disinformation ‘concerns’ to private sector entities including social media under H.R. 3359 from 2018 in its counterterrorism provisions.

“It is disappointing that what appeared to be a great first step in protecting First Amendment political speech is actually a swing and a miss that may in fact violate the First Amendment’s prohibition that ‘Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’ by specifically authorizing federal law enforcement to engage in censorship by outlining the exceptions to the law therein.”


“CISA scrubs ‘disinformation’ web page to remove the fact it ‘rout[es] disinformation concerns’ to ‘appropriate social media platforms’ to censor you,” By Robert Romano, March 9, 2023 at

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