Oh, don’t complain about the labor unions. They don’t have any political power, and they certainly don’t try to influence elections. So what if the DISCLOSE Act doesn’t hold them to the same laws, the same limits on political speech, that apply to others?

Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial, “Full Disclosure: Oh, Yeah?“:

The Times-Dispatch endorses full and rapid disclosure of campaign contributions. We oppose almost all restrictions of campaign finance, but believe that disclosure would allow the voters the option of weighing contributions as they decide whom to support. If a citizen refuses to vote for candidates receiving funds from the oil industry, then so be it. If another citizen is determined to vote against candidates subsidized by labor unions, then so be it as well. This newspaper also rejects attempts to stifle political speech under the guise of campaign finance reform. The First Amendment may be closer to an absolute than any other in the Bill of Rights.

As offensive as they may be, the details in the Disclose Act may mean less than their application. The bill would apply one standard to unions but far stricter standards to management. This is unjust and unfair and a typical partisan affront — and an insult to the Constitution. The bill could come up for a vote as early as today. It also could perish from a lack of enthusiasm. Virginians will be watching their senators, whose open opposition (or even indifference) to the measure could consign it to the dust heap where it belongs.

The vote is in the House today, but yes, the Senate will be next as backers of H.R. 5175, DISCLOSE Act, try to shove it through in time to squelch speech in this year’s Congressional elections.

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