H.R. 5175/S. 3295: The Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act

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The DISCLOSE Act requires organizations to name their top donors in ads that mention candidates even if the donors did not fund the ads.Their CEOs must appear in the ad and twice state their name and the organizations name.The most significant donor must list his name, rank, and organization three times in the ad, and the names of all donors who give $600 or more to the organization must be handed over to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).Groups must post a link on their website to the FEC, where a list of their donors names can be accessed.It also bans election-related communications 90 days before the primaries up till the general election.

The DISCLOSE Act is the most restrictive form of legislation to attack the First Amendment since the McCain/Feingold bill.

The bill is simply designed to undermine the recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling that said Congress may not prohibit funding of political speech by corporations, labor unions, and nonprofit groups groups like Concerned Women for America.

The intent is to limit speech from any group that funds ads advocating an election or defeat of a candidate, but those groups must already disclose their donations.

The bill hinders groups from being able to communicate our members concerns about public policy. This is not a left/right concern, since it targets all speech by all organizations except unions.

Even the Supreme Court has ruled against these unnecessary restrictions!It is simply a violation of our Constitutional right to communicate freely to our members.

The fact that this is coming up so conveniently before the 2010 elections, or that the NRA and Sierra Club have been exempted from the regulations in the DISCLOSE Act, does not go unnoticed, either.

Also, this legislation would go into effect 30 days after enacted and would cause so much confusion in its implementation that organizations may be intimidated and unwilling to speak out.

This grab for power in an attempt to silence opposition by burdening citizens with regulations is the work of tyrants.

Under the guise of openness and strengthening democracy through its regulations, the bill stifles political speech.

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