The House Rules Committee at 3 p.m. this afternoon is expected to take up the resolution allowing for House consideration of H.R. 5175, the bill to limit political speech known by the acronym, DISCLOSE Act.
Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Elections Commission, comments today in NRO’s The Corner, “The One-Sided DISCLOSE Act.”
In addition to the fact that it is filled with onerous, burdensome, and unnecessary provisions, it is extremely tilted against corporations in favor of unions. The intentional partisanship and one-sided nature of this was demonstrated by the defeat of a series of amendments in the committee mark-up that were proposed by Republicans. This included an amendment by Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.) that would have extended the prohibition on government contractors to any unions that have representational contracts with the government, as well as an amendment by Rep. Gregg Harper (R., Miss.) that would have extended the same ban to any other recipient of government grants, such as the liberal groups that receive so many federal earmarks and other funds. When Lungren tried to extend the political activity ban on corporations with foreign shareholders or corporate directors to unions that receive dues from foreign nationals, that was also rejected.
Brad Peck comments further at The Chamber Post, “The Dislose Act — An Inside Game.” Both the National Association and the Chamber of Commerce were among the 86 associations that signed a letter to the House Administration Committee expressing strong opposition to the legislation. Excerpt:
In its recent Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that political speech by corporations falls squarely within the protections of the First Amendment. The Constitution does not tolerate restrictions of speech based on the speaker’s identity, which have the inevitable effect of targeting specific content and viewpoints. By attempting to silence corporations’ voice in the political process while enabling unions to retain their enormous influence, Schumer – Van Hollen is a patently unconstitutional threat to the elections process.
Scotuswiki has the background and opinion on the Citizens United ruling here.
As we noted over at Point of Law, the Rules Committee will consider allowing up to 37 amendments to be debate when the full bill comes to the House floor, potentially as early as Friday. We think only one amendment is needed: the First Amendment.
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