Skip to comments.In Washington, 'Disclose' Means Stifle
Posted on 06/29/2010 5:59:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR5175, also known as the Disclose Act, by a 219-206 vote. "Disclose," you see, is an acronym for "Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections."
The measure's author, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., also happens to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- so you know that the bill has nothing to do with helping Democrats retain their seats. (Just kidding.)
Two Republicans voted for the measure; 36 Democrats voted against it. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it deserves to molder. This bill may have passed largely unnoticed, but if the Senate passes HR5175 as is, with its provision to activate the law in 30 days -- conveniently in time for November's midterm elections but before the Federal Election Commission would have a chance to draft careful rules -- voters should see this as a blatant attempt to rig the system.
Proponents want you to think that the bill fills in gaps created by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent controversial Citizens United ruling that lifted restrictions on independent political advertising by labor and corporations. They just want special interests to disclose their funding of independent political campaigns. Disclosure, after all, is one of those happy-face ideas in American politics.
But it's not that simple. For one thing, the measure bans independent campaign expenditures by businesses that do more than $10 million in contracts with the federal government. As the Center for Competitive Politics noted, the bill's provision against political expenditures by government contractors "abandons the government's long-standing policy of subjecting unions and corporations to similar restrictions. (The Disclose Act) would impose no similar burden on unions that directly negotiate for salary and benefits with the government or receive government grants, or on nonprofit groups that receive grants or taxpayer funding."
I understand that in liberal San Francisco, many readers bristle at the notion that corporations have free-speech rights. But you can't call a bill that muzzles business -- but not labor -- even-handed. Left or right, you might want to think twice before supporting a measure that allows Washington to choose which groups can and cannot speak out on issues of the day.
Also, disclosure isn't always apple pie. The ACLU opposes the bill because, according to Michael Macleod-Ball, its chief legislative and policy counsel, "the system is not strengthened by chilling free speech and invading the privacy of modest donors to controversial causes."
Then there's the NRA exemption. In order to win passage of the bill with Blue Dog Democrats, Van Hollen agreed to exempt the NRA from disclosure requirements. Then he agreed to expand the exemption to cover other large special interest groups, like the Sierra Club. So it's an anti-special interest bill that exempts powerful special interests.
"We don't really think the intent of the bill is to withstand scrutiny in the courts," said Jeff Patch of the Center for Competitive Politics.
No lie. Here's a more honest acronym for Disclose: Democrats Intend to Stifle Contrary Leanings with Selective Enforcement.
How about this - any US individual or corporation can give as much as they want to anyone they want, or for any advocacy ads, but ALL contributors of one penny or more must be immediately named in public filings and on the internet.
I sure would have liked to have known who contributed to Obama’s campaign.
Speaking of disclosure...how about disclosing the 20B agreement/document between the totalitarian branch of government and BP? Does Congress have one representative of we the people that will question Barrack “This Is Not a Cap” Obama? Check$ and Balance$? The pre$$?
Supra-national corporations + international totalitarian interlopers = neo fascism
Too big to fail?
I suspect it included a lot of untraceable prepaid credit card donations from muslim countries.
So, what is needed is to block campaign money from any union with more than 1000 government employees?
I did hear about a number of odd amounts being donated, as if the donations were in foreign currencies and the exchange rate resulted in the odd figures.
Good article by Debra Saunders. Selective Stifling Act.
I think they are cynically assuming that the law will be tossed out when it gets to the courts, but after the election—so they will have an unfair money advantage in November 2010.
"I think they're real happy I'm not going to join," said Cohen, who succeeded Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., in the Memphis district. "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in. You need to be invited."So let me get this straight: A Christian group that specifically states a belief in the Biblical prohibitions on homesexual behavior cannot exclude people who practice the Biblically prohibited behavior because that is discrimination; but the black caucus CAN exclude a representative from a majority black district because his skin color does not match theirs?
You misspelled that word. You've got a bunch of extra letters in the middle, you're missing the "A" and two "S's" at the beggining of the word, and you left out the "L" after the "O".
this reminds me of the thousands of gun control laws...more laws the criminals (Congress) will ignore. Case in point:
“Lawmakers Slow to Comply With New Filing Requirement”
Scores of lawmakers missed a deadline to start disclosing their ties to political action committees as required by law.
Some of them were sponsors of the law that imposed the new requirement.
Such widespread failure to officially declare their connections to so-called leadership PACs means it may be some time before voters can see whether their senators and representatives have auxiliary funds that let them distribute money separately from their re-election committees.
The new disclosures were due at the Federal Election Commission by March 29.
The deadline was set by the FEC as it implemented a larger campaign finance overhaul law passed in September 2007 (PL 110-81). While more than 230 lawmakers met the deadline, a significant number with known connections to leadership PACs did not
“OBAMAS FOREIGN DONORS: THE MEDIA AVERTS ITS EYES”
“Fictitious Donors Found in Obama Finance Records”