Thursday, June 24, 2010

DISCLOSE Act Stifles Tea Parties: Hank Johnson DISCLOSE Makes Sure Repubs Don't Get Elected

Congress is busy today abridging your free speech. Nothing new about that. Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson (GA) says passing the bill will insure Republicans do not win elections in the Fall. Ron Paul suggests the bill should be be renamed "Stifling Grassroots Political Support and Removing Political Privacy bill. See a video below. See the update below - The DISCLOSE Act has passed in the House.

Free Speech Stifled

The Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act, otherwise known as H.R. 5175 was again considered in the House today:

The Act would force grassroots organizations to release the names of donors and members of their organizations into a publicly searchable database, and frustrate the ability of grassroots entities to communicate effectively with the public about public policy.
Sources with House GOP leadership say they expect a final vote in the House anytime between 2:45 – 3:15 p.m.
That means the vote may be over at the time this is posted.

 The administration intends to put the legislation into effect within 30 days, before the FEC can even write the new guidelines.

Remember the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court which restored First Amendment rights to corporations, saying the government has no right to regulate free speech? The DISCLOSE Act, if implemented, is see as a first step to an end run against that Supreme Court decision. Listen to a CATO Institute podcast about this important issue here.

National Review's On The Corner announced on June 18th the vote was cancelled:
The vote that had been scheduled for Friday on the DISCLOSE Act was abruptly cancelled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday night. This after a rebellion by Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus, according to Politico.
Blue Dogs were apparently worried about their reelection prospects given the across the board opposition by business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. The Black Caucus was upset about the exemption granted to the NRA “and remained concerned about the bill’s potential impact on the NAACP and other 
In other words, while they were unworried about the speech of their political opponents being curtailed, they got “concerned” when they realized it might also affect some of their supporters.
We know votes are not held until Pelosi knows she has the votes to pass it, so the news is not expected to be good. What were the deals made this time?  

Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the ACLU are against H.R. 5175:
The right-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union, normally on opposite sides of just about any debate, have both come out opposing the bill because they contend it tramples First Amendment rights. 
Remember Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) who thought the island of Guam might "tip over from over-population? He has an opinion about the DISCLOSE Act as well. Johnson says passing DISCLOSE will make sure "Republicans don't get elected."See it in the video below.

Update June 24, 2010 - 5 p.m. EDT:
Karen at The Lonely Conservative says H.R. 5175 has passed the House. Read her post on Republicans accusing Democrats of "holding a closed debate."

Hank Johnson: DISCLOSE Keeps Republicans from Winning (video)

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