Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Elections Commission and now a Heritage scholar, breaks the news that the White House is considering ways to impose provisions of the anti-speech DISCLOSE Act through executive order.
An impeccable source has provided me with a copy of a draft Executive Order that the White House is apparently circulating for comments from several government agencies. Titled “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,” it appears to be an attempt by the Obama administration to implement — by executive fiat — portions of the DISCLOSE Act.
This was the bill introduced last year by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The bill had onerous requirements that were duplicative of existing law and burdensome to political speech. It never passed Congress because of principled opposition to its unfair, one-side requirements that benefited labor unions at the expense of corporations. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Election Commission then tried to implement portions of the bill in new regulations. Fortunately, those regulations were not adopted because of the united opposition of the Republican commissioners.
As my source says:
It really is amazing — they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict.
Amazing, but typical. The EPA is attempting to impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions despite clear opposition from Congress, the NLRB is busy enacting all sorts of pro-union provisions that could never pass congressional muster, and the President just issued a signing statement on White House “czars” proclaiming his intention of ignoring congressional appropriations. (Hugh Hewitt examines the trend in his latest column, “Liberals’ impatience with democracy, rule of law is growing.”)
The DISCLOSE Act was an ugly attempt to limit political speech based on who was expressing that speech. (Earlier Shopfloor posts.) The legislation failed in Congress last year. For the sake of the First Amendment, it should stay dead.