Let [Truth] and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in free and open encounter? She needs no policies, nor strantegems, nor licensings to make her victorious…. Give her but room.” John Milton stated in Areopagatica.

The Disclose Act is not a campaign reform bill but rather an attack on free speech.  According to an HSLDA E-lert, the Senate will vote on S. 3295, sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer (NY), tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, in an attempt to overcome a filibuster and force a final vote.

This bill is an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.  “The Supreme Court decided that corporations and labor unions that want to spend money on campaigns to elect or defeat a candidate are protected in doing so by the Freedom of Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

American citizens make up corporations and organizations, and the individual citizen’s right to free speech comes under attack in this Senate bill.  To quash an organization’s right to state opinions about candidates, effectively silences the individuals within the corporation and the right to think and speak freely about political concerns.

Congress must uphold the rights of all citizens, including those within a legal corporate organization.  It is the American way to debate, for in discussion and disagreement, great opinions are born.  The discourse that led to our founding documents were through the fire of passionate debate, resulting in the creation of a government that has always stood for protecting the people from the intrusion of government censorship.   This bill is another attempt to stifle the voices of individuals who support a candidate that speaks for them and represents their views.  S. 3295 will have a chilling effect on free speech and must not be passed.

5 comments
  1. When the Constitution was written, it was widely understood that the rights embodied in the Bill of Rights were individual rights, not collective rights. By limiting corporate influence on politics, no individuals are made less equal. Possessing money or influence should not grant an individual more of a voice, and the Citizens United ruling violates that concept. It makes those who control corporations and unions more powerful than those who merely work for them.

    Yet you argue that reasonable limits on corporate and union influence are quashing individual rights. That is clearly not the case. No one is preventing the union boss or the CEO from speaking out on his or her own time, with his or her own money. That would be wrong. The DISCLOSE act does nothing to erode individual liberty. In fact, by making certain that funding sources are fully transparent, the only thing the DISCLOSE act does is allow the consumer to know which corporations are funding which positions and candidates.

    If anything, conservatives should appreciate this level of transparency.

    1. Corporations must be treated by the law as persons, lest they cannot be punished for wrongdoing. As has been pointed out below (and many times before), the voluntary collective is a means by which the individual voices can be heard. Do you really think that gun owners will be heard if they are not allowed to speak together?

  2. The argument should not be about whether political donations are transparent or not. It is as if the politicians seek to diminish the influence of certain entities over the election process.

    The way to resolve this issue is to impose term limits. With single term House Reps and Senators the ability for any organization to corrupt the political process is severely diminished as it should be.

    1. Kathy,

      The problem with money and politicians is not the money they receive from interests, it is the taxpayer money they spend giving favors to the interests. The solution is not to cut the money off on the front end, it is to tie politicians hands so they can’t hand out favors.

      If the politicians were unable to return the “favor”, influence money would disappear quickly,.

  3. “Let [Truth] and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in free and open encounter?”

    Will we be left to hope that, for each billion-dollar corporation that chooses to speak, another billion-dollar corporation will advance an opposing view, such that they may grapple in a free and open encounter?

    Or does “free and open” actually refer to the freedom of the well-endowed to steamroll their opposition, through overwhelming media buys?

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