Exposing the Disclose Act: What Democrats Don’t Want You to Know

May 25, 2010

The Chicago Tribune: "Disclose and disclaim. Don't select and silence. ...the legislation tries to choose which political speech is legitimate and which is not. It would bar American companies that have as little as 20 percent foreign ownership from engaging in political speech. That would silence firms that are largely held by U.S. interests. ...Yes, it's fair to say that provision would be DOA at the Supreme Court. So would a ban on spending for political ads by federal contractors or recipients of government bailout money. That's a transparent bid to select and silence political speech."  5/21/10

The Washington Examiner: "Look who's protecting incumbents. ...Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. - have introduced a bill designed to stifle critics of what the Democratic Congress has done in the past two years." 5/25/10

The legislation, which some Democrats claim is simply about disclosure, includes provisions that would:

  • Ban speech by business corporations with government contracts but not speech by prominent labor unions in collective bargaining agreements with the government 
  • Ban speech by business corporations with partial foreign ownership but not speech by influential labor unions with foreign control or non-citizen members 
  • Ban over 2,700 U.S. companies with government contracts from engaging in political speech 
  • Require 30-second ads to include 13- to 26-second disclaimers 
  • Enact a vague law without waiting for the FEC to issue instructions and rules so people can follow the law and avoid criminal and civil punishment 
  • Require non-profit advocacy organizations to cover the high costs of complying with new cumbersome requirements for tracking and reporting donations  
  • Fine or penalize candidates for activities they didn't even know occurred

 For more information, please contact the Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.

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