No Free Political Speech if Disclose Act is Passed by Congress

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BY GROVER NORQUIST – Americans for Tax Reform stands strongly opposed to H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, which is expected to come to the House floor this week. We urge all of our members to contact their representatives to urge them to vote no on this blatant attack on free speech.
The DISCLOSE Act targets political speech by subjecting grassroots organizations and corporations to onerous disclosure requirements that make speaking nearly impossible. Curiously, labor unions, which have traditionally been treated the same as corporations in campaign finance governance, are not subject to the same regulation.
The legislation is legally dubious for several reasons; it is a thinly-veiled attempt to stifle politically unfavorable speech. The current language in H.R. 5175 arbitrarily preserves the First Amendment rights of some groups of speakers, while proscribing the same activities for others. This balancing of speech is wholly inconsistent with the notion of political expression ascribed in the Constitution.
The bill’s proponents argue this legislation is needed to curtail the Court’s decision in Citizens United. In fact, the DISCLOSE Act goes far beyond the issues addressed in the opinion, and uses the case as an excuse to strangle speech that was permitted before the Court’s ruling. Such a flagrant assault on these liberties cannot be tolerated.
Grover Norquist is with the Americans for Tax Reform