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Disclose Act is political attack on business

May 23, 2010

DISCLOSE Act Is Partisan Effort to Silence Critics and Gain Political Advantage
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce,

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement today in response to the House Administration Committee’s markup of the so-called “DISCLOSE Act:”

“The DISCLOSE Act is an unconstitutional attempt to silence free speech and a desperate attempt by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen and the immediate past chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senator Chuck Schumer, to gain political advantage in the 2010 elections.

“Congress should not be wasting its time on an ‘Incumbent Protection Act,’ but instead should be focused on job creation. Nothing makes Americans angrier than members of Congress who are more concerned about protecting their own jobs, rather than creating new ones for unemployed constituents.

“Unions, businesses, and individuals all have a constitutionally protected right to free speech that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The DISCLOSE Act would undermine that protection and would allow for only the voices of politically favored groups—such as big labor unions—to be heard in national debates. It’s unconstitutional. It’s un-American. And it must be stopped.”

The Chamber also noted that it was a signatory to a letter to the House along with 85 other trade associations representing the entire range of American businesses to oppose the “DISCLOSE Act.” The letter states that the Schumer-Van Hollen bill is a direct attack on the rights of the business community and the role organizations play in the national political dialogue, and urges members of both chambers to oppose the unconstitutional legislation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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Discuss this article

The New Attack on Business: The Disclose Act May 25, 2010

[…] Via oregonbusinessreport. com […]

Alan May 27, 2010

Why exactly does greater disclosure worry the Chamber of Commerce, and how exactly is it unconstitutional? Thanks.

B Severs May 28, 2010

Alan,

Authors of the “Disclose Act” claim it is to limit the influence of evil, powerful corporations on elections. In reality, it will effect organizations, large and small, who are incorporated. Amazingly, though, unions are excluded from these regulations. It’s almost as though some people are trying to give unions undue influence on elections. Weird.

As for its unconstitutionality, it has to do with the First Amendment:

“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.”

You see, Congress isn’t supposed to be making laws abridging the freedom of speech. You are supposed to be able to make any political speech (including campaign commercials) you would like. As am I. As are unions. As are corporations. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Congress seems to have forgotten about that in recent years.

B Severs May 28, 2010

P.S.

It isn’t about “disclosing”, it’s about silencing dissent.

Donations over $250 already have to be disclosed. With this regulation, donors names could have to be included in an ad. Given the recent intimidation tactics by the SEIU against the family of a Bank of America executive, this is more than a little disturbing.

This legislation is about intimidating people into silence. At least, intimidating the “wrong type” of people into silence.

Rebecca June 11, 2010

So what you are saying is that if a person or company that sponsors a political ad has to put their real name on it, they wouldn’t place the ad? Their own fears are supressing their choice not a law stating that they can’t say it.

I believe that if you are not able to put your name on what you have to say, then you shouldn’t say it. Our first amendment is about free speech. It sounds to me like this bill is protecting free speech by simply identifying the speaker. You are playing on fears and emotions to protect people who don’t have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. Our founding fathers risked their very lives during the Revolutionary War to give us this great country. How can business CEO’s not have the courage to do the same thing?

I do agree that all entities (whether business, union, or individual) should have to put their name on political ads and contributions not businesses only!

Shana Garrett July 26, 2010

(Sec. 211)
Requires corporations, labor organizations, tax-exempt charitable organizations, and political organizations other than political committees (covered organizations) to include specified additional information in reports on independent expenditures of at least $10,000, including certain actual or deemed transfers of money to other persons, but excluding amounts paid from separate segregated funds as well as amounts designated for specified campaign-related activities.
Looks like Labor unions are included to me…See where it says requires corporations and labor orgs to file all that extra paperwork?

Shana Garrett July 26, 2010

Regarding the threats mr Severs is concerned about… here is the part of the bill that covers that…
(Sec. 402)
Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect any provision of law, rule, or regulation which waives a requirement to disclose information relating to any person in any case in which there is a reasonable probability that the information disclosure would subject the person to threats, harassments, or reprisals.

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