| Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act, H.R. 5175 (the "DISCLOSE Act," or "Schumer - Van Hollen") is a direct assault on the First Amendment. This bill was introduced as a result of the Chief Justice Roberts Supreme Court ruling two months ago against a provision of the Feingold–McCain Campaign Finance Reform Act. The ruling struck down the provision that major corporations and businesses could not contribute to political campaigns. Many politicians on both sides of the aisle see this as a threat to their futures due to the vast funding corporations could contribute to an opponent's campaign. The Supreme Court rightly ruled all citizens are entitled to participate in the political process, this includes corporations and businesses. Politicians, primarily liberal Democrats, cried foul. |
As a result the "Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act, H.R. 5175" was introduced. Funny thing though, this bill contains no restrictions on the largest donors of many politicians, labor unions. Many labor unions receive federal grants. However, businesses that have contracts with the federal government valued at $50,000 or more are banned from campaign related activity. Furthermore, businesses must report the names of campaign donors to the Federal Election Commission who contributed $600 or more. This monetary value is low enough for labor unions not having to report donor names yet high enough to catch most corporate donors. Labor unions contributed over $450 million to the 2008 presidential campaign.
Another horrid aspect of this bill is the "stand by your ad" requirements for television and radio. An organization's CEO and the CEO of its top funder would both have to appear in the advertisement, identify themselves and their organization, and state their approval of the message. It is estimated that these mandatory disclosures could consume as much as 13 seconds of air time, for spots that often are 30 seconds in length.
The chief sponsor of this bill Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY was quoted that the "deterrent effect should not be underestimated." His point is this bill is designed to deter free speech against politicians who have supported unpopular legislation. In 1996 Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan was quoted, "Campaign finance laws . . . easily can serve as incumbent-protection devices, insulating current officeholders from challenge and criticism. When such laws apply only to certain speakers or subjects, the danger of illicit motive becomes even greater . . .." The overall goal of the sponsors of this legislation is to do whatever they deem to remain in perpetual political power while forcing an egregious, socialist agenda on America.
It is vital that you contact your U.S. Senators and Representative and express to them to not support this or any legislation that tramples on one of our most treasured freedoms, the right to free speech.