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  • DISCLOSE Act Assault on First Amendment Continues

    For those of you who believe in bygone notions like free speech rights and the ability to criticize politicians when they do things like nationalize 1/5 of the U.S. economy, you better taken advantage of that while you can. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed for cloture on the DISCLOSE Act, S. 3628, which is intended to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and impose burdensome new disclosure requirements. The cloture vote will probably occur next Tuesday in a move that avoids committee hearings. If Reid can get 60 votes, then the Schumer/Van Hollen Sedition Act of 2010 will proceed to a vote. At that point, he will only need 51 senators who believe Congress has the ability to circumvent and restrict the First Amendment.

    Senator Schumer also introduced a new version of S. 3628 yesterday which differs slightly from the version passed in the House, H.R. 5175. For example, it drops the ban on political speech introduced by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) by holders of oil drilling leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, which is a slight improvement over the House version. But the differential treatment between corporations and unions is still present in the new, refined, and “improved” bill, as are all of the other worst provisions of the original version.

    The Center for Competitive Politics estimates that the ban on government contractors engaging in political speech will apply to over half of the fifty largest companies in the United States. The “NRA exemption” from the burdensome disclosure requirements remains in the bill as does the prohibition on speech of American companies with direct or indirect connections with foreign corporations (although unions and NGOs with foreign members are not affected). So companies owned 80% by Americans that are headquartered in the United States and whose employees are overwhelmingly American will not be able to engage in any political speech.

    If this bill passes, it will become effective within thirty days, which will cause such confusion and chaos only two months before the fall congressional elections that many corporations, both profit and nonprofit, and incorporated associations, will no doubt stay out of the election and stay out of grassroots activity on other bills and issues being considered by Congress before November. But then, there is little doubt that deterring such activity that could lead to criticism of the positions and votes taken by incumbent senators and representatives is an intentional objective.

    The Framers of our Bill of Rights are probably rolling over in their graves as they contemplate what may be about to happen in the United States Senate. If Daniel Webster asked “How stands the Union?’ as he did in the famous story by Stephen Vincent Benet in The Devil and Daniel Webster, it would be hard to give him the answer he would want. When members of the United States Congress believe they have the power to violate the First Amendment with impunity and censor the political speech of those who they believe should not be able to speak, then the Union no longer stands “rock-bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible.”

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    47 Responses to DISCLOSE Act Assault on First Amendment Continues

    1. Susan Raven, GA says:

      Harry Reid has enjoyed "freedom of speech" for many years… may God NOT bless him in any way; as he, in the less necessary years of his life, tries to hinder new generations from experiencing this precious right.

      Susan Raven

    2. Liberty 2012 says:

      Where are all of our leaders? These people should be ashamed of themselves. And the sad part about all this is that they say it with a smile on their face. Pathetic, Just Pathetic.

    3. Elaine Pruner, P.O. says:

      It is frustrating to see what is happening to our Country via laws being inacted by our president and politicians who have sworn to protect and defend us and our country only to learn many of them have not only failed to do so but its doubtful they ever had any such intention, have in fact lied to us as have the media.

      I may not be able to comply with the respectful part as I'm both angry and sick at heart as to what is happening and frustrated and impotent that I can do so little to effect a change.

    4. ray, middlesex, ct says:

      I think you have your bills mixed up. The DISCLOSE Act is S.3295.

      Schumer introduced an amendment.

      S.3628

      Title: A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.

      Sponsor: Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] (introduced 7/21/2010) Cosponsors (None)

      It is untitled at Thomas' website.

    5. Vested, TX says:

      I don't understand it.

      I am a Federal employee. We have not been asked to cut back or reduce budgets on anything that we do. We're still hiring new employees and filling vacated posltions. We're still receiving larger than normal end-of-year "performance" bonuses and scheduled "step increase" raises. We're still attending conferences and out-of-town meetings.

      Right now, Departments are gearing up for our end-of-year "spend down" – where were are requested to spend money at an accelerated (or previously projected) pace in order to deplete our spending budgets by the end of the fiscal year. It's very problematic in the Federal Government for a Department or Division to have money left over at the end of the year.

    6. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 7.25.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    7. sf says:

      Very insightful post.

      BTW, note how the Dem leadership has once again–as they always do–given an innocuous name to a right-depriving bill. After all, who could *possibly* object to "disclosure" of the source of some political ad? When in reality the bill (at least as explained here) would flatly ban political ads by corporations during certain periods before an election–an altogether different and pernicious thing!

    8. Billie says:

      Everybody's getting hired under government in accordance with obama's agenda to collapse and take-over people living free from government dependency.

      oh, and excuse me, Mr. President, but the people can't have diplomacy without independent thinking and freedom of speech. There won't be freedom of speech without the first amendment protected, silly goose! As the world is least honest along with the democrat party of America today, it is important to be aware of the truth. Unless of course, you hide it, eh, Mr. President? For those you belittle, might catch on? Acts like this shows either, oversensitive or corrupt leadership. The good people of America do not deserve to be led by weakness.

    9. mcfadden, walnut cre says:

      What we really need is a Constitutional Amendment that flatly states "corporations are not persons and are not entitled to any of the natural rights outlined in the Bill of Rights." Natural rights are not given to us by the government and cannot be revoked by the government. They apply to all humans everywhere. Corporate rights are not natural rights since corporations are not natural. Corporations are merely contracts between people, pieces of paper, and should be controlled and regulated by the states including banning corporations from playing any roll in the political process. Corporations do not have rights to free speech since corporations are just pieces of paper.

    10. RoseAnn Salanitri says:

      I am in the process of creating a conservative online newspaper (Conservative Worldview News). I would like permission to use this article, with proper credits being given, of course.

      Thank you,

      RoseAnn Salanitri

    11. alanstorm says:

      OK, mcfadden, I'll go along with your assertion – but let's be thorough about it. Let's ban all such organizations from "playing any roll in the political process": That would include unions, especially "public service" unions (talk about a conflict of interest!), non-profits, like the Sierra Club, NRA, AMA, & ABA….

      After all, these are all just "pieces of paper" as well.

    12. Rob Crawford says:

      "Corporations do not have rights to free speech since corporations are just pieces of paper."

      What about the people who make up that corporation?

    13. cysusa NC says:

      I called my Senators to tell them to vote No! This is aimed directly at trying to alter the Free Speech of millions of Americans. Small businesses and grassroots folks are definitely a major target with this bill. They want it enacted in 30 days with an election coming up. Alarm bells should be going off everywhere. The mere fact Reid is behind this is enough to make it suspect.

    14. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      This is exactly what Obama ment when he stated he wanted to "transform" this nation. Now we know his transformation includes destroying yet another one of

      our "rights" given to us by amendment.We all must recognize that Obama and

      his lackeys in the Dem led Congress, all have the same agenda. To drag our

      America into their socialist utopa. Make no mistake about it. These people will not stop until we stop them.

    15. Christopher Jones, G says:

      I don't see any mention of organizations such as the AFL-CIO in this bill? Aren't they a "special interest"?

    16. Brad, Chicago says:

      I bet this doesn't affect campaign contributions. [heavy sarcasm] These greedy companies are not allowed to run political ads, but if they want to give their money to me, I'll make good use of it… to help the people, of course!

      As long as the claims made in an advertisement are true, it should be legal (and should probably be encouraged) to talk about political candidates and the likely consequences of their election. The idea that a corporation's opinion is necessarily biased or less credible than any other organization sounds ridiculous to me.

    17. Larry Bennett Dalles says:

      alanstorm:

      Good comeback to mcfadden. The AARP should be included in that list.

    18. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Vested, TX

      If I were a Fed I would be worried in the next two years. If you think things are crazy now, this president has a habit of throwing his supporters under the bus. In order to save his chances in 2012, he WILL take it out on you all. You are just a card in his deck he has yet to play. I worked in the State of VT government. Every two tears we had cuts or threats of cuts. Incidentally, it occurred at election time for the governor. Obama will tell the American people the truth that you are high paid and are the authors of excessive budgeting and will take you down to make him look like a savior. The news has not been flattering towards the feds as of late. SO Enjoy the spending now. You will be gnawing on the bones by this time in the next couple of years. In addition, you will have no support from your head boss.

      In 2011 and 2012 there will be no tax revenue to support the crazy behavior going on in your offices throughout the federal government. Therefore, in this light you feds will not even have the benefit we had in VT. At least we knew it was a game. After the election, the dust would settle and things would be fine. Obama may actually consider slashing cuts (except for his pet programs) that would make him appear a little more conservative. Then after the election, regardless who is in charge, there won’t be funds to rehire.

      I am happy to hear from a fed exposing such behavior. Your honesty is admirable. I saw this practice in VT as well years ago. In the recent years, however due to lower tax revenues and higher costs our budgets have tightened up. We need more like you to wake up the nation at large.

    19. Fred says:

      If the bill passes, it automatically becomes unconstitutional because the UN Treaty has not been considered and this bill would violate may rights we have outside our own Dumb Government rituals; namely, under the UN UDHR of 1945 signed and ratified by our Senate! Extract of pertinent human rights points that your law under review will most probably abridge! “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”; “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind”; “essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression”; “reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women”; “universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms”; “as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance”; “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”; “should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”; “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the UDHR, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”; Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.; No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: “everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law”; “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”; “all are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination”; “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”! Adopted on December 10, 1948 – by the General Assembly of the United Nations (without dissent). Of course, since our setting president is an illegal who refuses to provide proof positive that he is not a birther from kenya as recorded, our setting Senators have politely placed their visual accuity into the posterior of their anatomy to blind themselves from reality. HAVE A NICE DAY SENATORS.

    20. Pingback: This Week in Washington - July 26, 2010 | RedState

    21. Pingback: DISCLOSE Act Slated for Senate Consideration TOMORROW - The Republican Lawyer Blog

    22. Suzanne, Medina OH says:

      Is anyone listening out there?? How much I am now paying attention to what Washington is doing…I always thought that you could wake up each and every morning to a country that was working for you….how wrong I am today…I don't know what I can do, but I am going to do something to support the effort to get this country back on track….I will not have my rights taken away by those who won't even have to follow them…wonder how they think…what will happen to their families in this mess they have created in Washington…how far immune from this governing are their immediate families????

    23. Jim Baden says:

      Since the plan is to ban corporations, not individuals, from speaking before an election, let's make sure to ban them all. Political Parties are not individuals – so ban them. Newspapers are not individuals – ban them. Television Corporations are not individuals – ban them…. get it? If the law is passed, let's make sure ALL non-individuals are banned from opening their "mouths"….

    24. William says:

      If EVER there was a case for Recall of Elected Officials, it is in regard to this Bill. Let's get it going folks. We have the Right to Recall based on the Declaration of Independence, "…that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People (notice we don't have to wait on our representatives to do the right thing), it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it…We can alter or abolish through Recall of usurping public SERVANTS and we should, nay we MUST. Sign the petition here, http://recall.avoiceofthepeople.com Then get it going for your state by consulting RecallCongressNow.org and The American Civil Rights Union. Revolution is a brewin'. Let's make some tea.

    25. William says:

      Mcfadden:

      James Wilson, Assoc. Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by George Washington. Mcfadden, You'll want to consider this carefully before you dismiss a "corporation" not deserving of nature rights. Also, what is our Constitution if not just a piece of paper, a contract between People? You argue out of both sides of your mouth. But here is my post from Justice Wilson as to "artificial persons"

      "By a State I mean, a complete body of free persons united together for their common benefit, to enjoy peaceably what is their own, and to do justice to others. It is an artificial person. It has its affairs and its interests: It has its rules: It has its rights: And it has its obligations. It may acquire property distinct from that of its members: It may incur debts to be discharged out of the public stock, not out of the private fortunes of individuals. It may be bound by contracts; and for damages arising from the breach of those contracts. In all our contemplations, however, concerning this feigned and artificial person, we should never forget, that, in truth and nature, those, who think and speak, and act, are men."

      Chisholm v. Georgia (2 US 419) Supreme Court Justice James Wilson

      Justice Iredell issued what is now generally termed the opinion of the Court; Justice Wilson’s more famous opinion was written separately but in concurrence with Iredell’s.—B. F.

      Do you still think Corporations have no right to participate in political free speech, Mcfadden??? Do some research.
      http://avoiceofthepeople.com//index.php?blog=9

    26. William says:

      Seriously, my comments were deleted? Let's try again:

      James Wilson, Assoc. Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by George Washington.

      "By a State I mean, a complete body of free persons united together for their common benefit, to enjoy peaceably what is their own, and to do justice to others. It is an artificial person. It has its affairs and its interests: It has its rules: It has its rights: And it has its obligations. It may acquire property distinct from that of its members: It may incur debts to be discharged out of the public stock, not out of the private fortunes of individuals. It may be bound by contracts; and for damages arising from the breach of those contracts. In all our contemplations, however, concerning this feigned and artificial person, we should never forget, that, in truth and nature, those, who think and speak, and act, are men."

      Chisholm v. Georgia (2 US 419) Supreme Court Justice James Wilson

      Justice Iredell issued what is now generally termed the opinion of the Court; Justice Wilson’s more famous opinion was written separately but in concurrence with Iredell’s.—B. F.

      The same could be said for corporations.

      http://avoiceofthepeople.com//index.php?blog=9

    27. Web, KC says:

      OK then, since disclosure is a 1st Amendment issue what IS the solution to corporations/organizations buying our politicians? If you don't think our congressman and senators being bought out is a problem, you're delusional. As long is this continues we'll continue to get housed.

    28. Tom_Beebe St Louis says:

      Its hopeless at this stage to cry out for real reform, but I'll do it anyway. Here's what I believe is needed: AMENDMENT XXVIII

      No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made by individuals who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributions to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns.

      No person may be elected to either house of Congress more than two times.

      ————————————————————————————————————

      The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of a contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization may oppose the candidate.

      The term-limit is inserted to diminish the worth of an office holder to an individual or group who may wish to influence that office-holder by gift or other form of remuneration.

    29. Tom_Beebe, St Louis says:

      Please consider this proposal. It's surely too late to be considered in the current Washington climate, but I suggest some of you might enjoy thoughts on a higher plane.

      AMENDMENT XXVIII

      No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made by individuals who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributions to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns.

      No person may be elected to either house of Congress more than two times.

      ————————————————————————————————————

      The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of a contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization may oppose the candidate.

      The term-limit is inserted to diminish the worth of an office holder to an individual or group who may wish to influence that office-holder by gift or other form of remuneration.

    30. TOM LUBBOCK` says:

      What a Mess! We have a party in power that is about to lose so they are willing to destroy any and every thing that we call American to win. It is imperative that the control of Congress be placed in the hands of the party NOT in power as to the presidency to force compromise between the radical groups in both parties. Lets hope that the voters wake up and take this action and render this type of political activity out the question and give our country some stability. Remember President Clinton time? That is what happened to him and the economy took off when the Republicans took over congress and the Democratic President remained in office.

    31. Pingback: Senate Votes This Week on DISCLOSE Act, Kagan Nomination; Family Groups on High Alert | CitizenLink

    32. George Colgrove says:

      "Its hopeless at this stage to cry out for real reform, but I’ll do it anyway. Here’s what I believe is needed: AMENDMENT XXVIII"

      Keep the amendment simple and in the classic language. This amendment covers everything:

      ———

      Congress shall make no law that in its entirety or in part gives undue advantage or privilege to a person or any group of persons over the people.

      ———

    33. Mike C, Las CrucesNe says:

      Wow its so funny how conservatives find ways to oppose sensible legislation. First of all corporations are not people and they in no way shape or form represent people. A union on the other hand is paid for by dues from members and is representative of the people who voluntarily donate their hard earned money to unions to represent them. The spending done by Unions is disclosed to its members, so if I don't want my money going to some political campaign I don't agree with, then I can withdraw my dues. On the other hand when McDonald's or BP runs an ad and pays for that ad from money I spend at their business, I have no idea. All this is doing is disclosing where that ad came from and then I can make my own decision on whether I want to keep patronizing that business and see the money I spent at the business going toward some political campaign I don't agree with. I don't mind corporations using their own money to run political ads, just let me know which group or corporation is running the ad. This is exactly what this legislation is intended to do. For those arguing about the timing, that is true its really close to an election, but last time I checked it was the Conservative activist Roberts Court that changed the rules of the game. The Dems are just trying to catch up with the completely judicial activist ruling by the Roberts court. This legislation however does not infringe on anyone's first amendment right, they can run all the ads they want but let us know who's running them. That is what a democracy is built around and we sure need that transparency. Its funny how Malkin complains over and over about the lack of transparency in government and then when something like this comes up that might hurt the Republicans campaigns in November, she argues against it. Typical conservative hypocrisy at work. Just like opposing the roll back of the Bush tax cuts because they "create jobs". Funny if they create jobs then why did we start losing American jobs by the droves during the final years of Bush's tax cuts. So now the American people are to believe they will miraculous create jobs this time around. Go peddle your magic tonic elsewhere.

    34. Robert, Michigan says:

      William Re: McFadden

      Your SC references are impressive, but they do not change the fact that in 2010, corporations and special interest groups are determining the course of this country. Period. McFadden feels that treating corporations as voting public is wrong, and I agree with him. You can PROHIBIT ALL or special interest money, or you can DISCLOSE ALL contributions, all sponsors of ads, all funders of special interest groups at the POINT OF SALE, or when/during promotion takes place. Every ad, every article, every rally, everything – who funded this transaction. That is TRANSPARENCY. And I think McFadden is correct: Corporations and special interest groups, whether you are conservative or liberal, should NOT be calling the shots. The american voters should be – however few we may be. If INDIVIDUALS felt their vote mattered and could hold up to corporate influence, you can be sure there would be more voter participation. KILL this bill, but get rid of all the shenanigans too. MAKE EVERY COMPANY and SPECIAL INTEREST DISCLOSE ALL – no matter the amount.

    35. Drew Page, IL says:

      I think Vested in TX let a little known cat out of the bag. Of course the government is spending every last dime they can get their hands on. If they don't, they won't be given as much in the next year's budget. That way can show that every single dollar that was budgeted was absolutely needed. In addition, the government workers are all getting their raises to secure one of their biggest voting blocks, government workers. That's why Mr. Obama hires so many.

      This government, led by Obama, Pelosi and Reid are gluttons for power. What they aren't given they take and smugly defy any one to stop them. And now Reid wants to shove through legislation that prevents free speech, just like he did with health care reform. It doesn't matter what a majority of citizens in this country want. It only matters what he wants. This whole group of Democrats is rotten to the core.

    36. Pingback: Michelle Malkin » Stop the special-interest, speech-squelching DISCLOSE Act

    37. Kevin, Cincinnati, O says:

      Web, KC on July 23rd, 2010 at 6:00pm said:

      OK then, since disclosure is a 1st Amendment issue what IS the solution to corporations/organizations buying our politicians? If you don’t think our congressman and senators being bought out is a problem, you’re delusional. As long is this continues we’ll continue to get housed.

      The problem is with statism. The solution is to get rid of statism. If the government does not wield lots of power over people and businesses, there is no incentive for them to try to buy politicians.

    38. Paul Rinderle says:

      Another provision in this bill is where these Gay Senators want those people who give money to support Prop 8 in California to have their names & families listed in order to to be stalked, intimidated and threatened even by death by the Gay Community.

    39. Pingback: Michelle Malkin

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    41. Charley Miller Littl says:

      Two things.

      If passed, I don't see this as happening, but thanks for sounding this alarm, you are right.

      All incumbents will be looking for new jobs this November, no amount of money is going to change that.

      thanks

      Unaffiliated

      charleymiller2010

      Colorado

    42. Pingback: Battles Looming Over First Amendment Rights

    43. eugene reed, brookly says:

      from an e-mail i received from my tea party the disclose act did not pass. what disturbs me is that ny senator schumer has drafted a "watered down" version of the original bill and that's the problem with this congress and administration, they just move right along… don't they? the margin of defeat should have been much greater and that is also worrisome. congress doesn't respect it's own authority, cabinet heads are directed to rule in opposition to congressional authority and the press is begging for the ever popular bailout!! the first ammendment is our most important freedom , it is up for sale and the price is america's soul.

    44. Pingback: GOTV: The Top Ten Reasons You Should Be Working On Getting Out the Vote | RedState

    45. Steve Bukosky says:

      Republicans have let this kind of stuff happen for years due to inaction. This is why I have stopped giving to them and now only to candidates with Tea Party mentality. Scream loudly and frequently people or we will lose our country to the Fabian Socialists.

    46. CARL EVANS PALM COAS says:

      Any political party that uses the right of free speech to gain power and then seeks to restrict it for other s is to be feared. Control of speech alwaye ends in disaster.

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