The responsible staff at the National Association of Manufacturers have reviewed the manager’s amendment to H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, and concluded that the latest version of the bill just worsens the legislation’s already unconstitutional restrictions on speech. The previous Key Vote letter opposing H.R. 5175 stands:
Put simply, this legislation threatens First Amendment freedoms and is a direct assault on the U.S. Constitution. Its purpose is to hinder groups, including associations such as the NAM, which give voice to their members’ views and priorities. The Supreme Court repeatedly has recognized that voluntary associations are key participants in the public debate, and that government’s attempts to curb participation in associations in order to stifle their voice in the public debate violate the First Amendment. There need be no further discussion on whether First Amendment freedoms should apply to some and not to others.
As drafted, H.R. 5175 would curb the First Amendment rights of many corporations that regularly participate in contracts with the federal government or have limited foreign ownership or control. We believe the bill’s disclosure provisions could easily be used to create “political enemies” lists or to promote “boycotts” – all aimed at chilling companies’ legitimate advocacy activities. It is unconscionable that these same First Amendment restrictions do not apply equally to unions representing government workers or unions with foreign members or directors.
Key Vote letters are used to rate a member of Congress’ record on manufacturing issues.
Your correspondent intends to Tweet the House debate on the rule and H.R. 5175 @Shopfloor_NAM, using the #DISCLOSE hashtag. House convenes at 10 a.m.
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