Recently, the US Senate attempted but failed to pass the DISCLOSE Act. The vote was 57-41 in favor of the bill -- three votes short of the 60 votes needed to get the bill onto the Senate floor for a straight up or down vote.
The bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 219 to 206. While an overwhelming majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives voted in favor of the DISCLOSE act, a tiny minority of Democrats voted along with the Republicans against the bill.
Congressional Democrat leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tried to pass the bill quickly so that President Obama could sign it into law, just in time to limit our ability to speak up and speak out going into this November’s election.
Just what is the DISCLOSE Act? Why would it be so harmful to all of us? It is a bill that would have limited free speech in full violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, while squashing the dissent of freedom loving Americans.
For example, the DISCLOSE ACT would:
-Put in place a ban on free speech by stopping certain political advertisements a full 90 days before a Congressional election, and stopping certain political advertisements a full 120 days prior to a Presidential election.
I am just as frustrated as anyone else during election season with the abundance of political advertisements; however, banning the freedom of speech is not the solution.
Curiously, the DISCLOSE Act excluded labor unions, the AARP, the ACLU and the Sierra Club from its free speech limits and restrictions by allowing those organizations to advertise. It is obvious what the Democrats in Congress and President Obama were attempting to do. They were attempting to limit our ability to organize and get out the vote for this November’s elections. This is neither ethical nor legal.
The First Amendment of the Constitution cannot be any more clear and concrete. It reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Yet, “prohibiting the free exercise of speech,” and “abridging the freedom of speech,” is exactly what the DISCLOSE ACT would do. That’s not exactly the “Hope and Change” we were promised.
The DISCLOSE ACT would also:
-Mandate that grassroots political organizations publicize and release the names of their top five contributors.
-Mandate that political organizations expose the address of their top donor's home and workplace in a disclaimer at the end of every television ad.