The True Purpose Of The DISCLOSE Act Exposed

You cannot make this stuff up.  Here is Exhibit A concerning how the DISCLOSE Act is designed to chill corporate speech and protect the labor unions so that they can spend their general treasury funds on behalf of Congressional Democrats.  The DISCLOSE Act is not about disclosure, it’s about prohibiting political speech.

The day after the Committee on House Administration (“CHA”) rejected each proposed amendment to the DISCLOSE Act that would make labor unions subject to the same federal government contractor and foreign national bans that apply to corporations, two of the largest labor unions announced that they will spend a combined $100 million to protect Democratic House and Senate incumbents.  The labor unions are not shy about why they are spending their general treasury funds.  According to The Hill:

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) plans to spend in excess of $50 million during the 2010 campaign, part of which will fund “a massive incumbent protection program,” according to Gerry McEntee, president of the union.  (emphasis added)

But that’s not all . . .

We have got to protect the incumbency in the House. We have got to protect the incumbency in the Senate,” McEntee said. “It is going to be hard. Those tea-baggers are out there. There is an anti-incumbency mood out there.”  (emphasis added)

After the top tier, there will be a second tier of House candidates AFSCME will be monitoring and will step in to help defend if they become endangered by GOP challengers.

So let’s review – a company with federal government contracts will be prohibited from making independent expenditures and engaging in other political speech, but a labor union of government employees is not subject to the same prohibition. 

The DISCLOSE Act is about nothing more than prohibiting the speech of one group of speakers as a means to control the content of political speech in the 2010 midterm elections – a government act that runs afoul of the First Amendment.  As the Supreme Court majority stated in Citizens United v. FEC,

Prohibited, too, are restrictions distinguishing among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.  As instruments to censor, these categories are interrelated: Speech restrictions based on the identity of the speaker are all too often simply a means of content control. . . . The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration.  The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each.

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