The National Association of Manufacturers has just sent a “Key Vote” letter to the U.S. Senate, expressing strong opposition to S. 3628, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act.
Put simply, this bill threatens First Amendment freedoms and is a direct assault on the U.S. Constitution. Its purpose is to hinder the ability of organizations, including associations such as the NAM, to give a voice to their members’ views and priorities. The U.S. 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.
The DISCLOSE Act would curb the First Amendment rights of many companies that regularly participate in contracts with the federal government or have limited foreign ownership or control. We believe its onerous 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 restrictions do not apply equally to unions representing government workers or unions with foreign members or directors.
The NAM uses “Key Vote” letters to rate a member of Congress’ voting record on manufacturing issues.
Earlier today, “DISCLOSE Act: Still Chilling Political Speech“
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