There are numerous reasons to oppose the DISCLOSE Act. Here are just a few:
As Americans we enjoy — and demand — certain things in our lives to be private. We even have a Constitutional Amendment which removes any ambiguity to this fact. Under the DISCLOSE Act, individuals who donate to organizations or associations may find themselves on a government list. While this may sound a little paranoid, take a look at Section 105.
The DISCLOSE Act would require organizations to report the the Federal Government the names of individuals who contributed toward Internet banner ads (Sec. 105), even if they did so with no monetary compensation. If I choose to run an ad on my website and do so free of charge because I support whatever it is that I’m advertising (The “One Subject At A Time” Bill, for example), the organization behind that would be required to report that I “contributed” to them, even though all I did was quote an article, reprint a letter, or run an ad.
Further, if one were to run TV or radio ads, if those efforts are determined by the Federal Government to be favoring one candidate over another (Sec. 201), that would also require disclosure.
This is a critical point: the Feds are making the determination. The people that are in power at the time, those that want to protect their own incumbency, would be the ones determining if something falls under DISCLOSE, and levying penalties if they don’t fully comply.
There will be a chilling effect on the free speech of an organization’s members. The organization will no longer be able to publicly advocate for specific issues (non-interventionism, audit the fed, sound money) that could be construed in an election year as supporting or opposing one candidate over another. Letting an elected official’s constituents know where he or she stands on the issues and asking them to contact him either for or against important legislation would be regulated.
This opens the door for donor intimidation and harassment, and could result in silencing an organization’s supporters, causing a decrease in their donations, and thereby making them less effective.
The First Amendment clearly states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” There’s not an awful lot of wiggle room there.
Some may ask, “why resist DISCLOSE if you have nothing to hide?” Because the First Amendment doesn’t say “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, unless it has to do with something elected officials are doing”.
Vote against H.R. 5175, yet another bill to put you on a government list.