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Key Vote

Key Vote NO on DISCLOSE Act

Dear FreedomWorks member,

As one of our million-plus FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on S. 3369, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. There is broad opposition to this legislation from across the political spectrum. FreedomWorks opposes this bill on principle: it is a clear violation of free speech and would likely have a chilling effect on political discourse.

The DISCLOSE Act fails to preserve the anonymity of small donors. It is important to remember why this anonymity exists. As the civil rights movement was gaining steam in the late 1950s, opponents of the movement’s noble goals tried to silence supporters with government-mandated membership disclosure regimes. In 1958 the Supreme Court correctly sided with the NAACP in NAACP v Alabama, ensuring NAACP supporters could maintain anonymity so they would not be subject to personal, political, or commercial attacks.

Two other pieces of the DISCLOSE Act look like specific attacks on the Tea Party movement. It is widely known that this decentralized movement is largely made up of individuals who are new to political activism and simply organizing with likeminded members of their community to do what they can for a country they love. But the DISCLOSE Act puts in place ambiguous guidelines that will leave many, especially smaller groups without the funds to pay for expensive campaign law attorneys, wondering whether or not they are violating the new rules. When changing the rules of political participation, Congress should err on the side of encouraging participation, not discouraging it with ambiguous legalese that only empowers lawyers.

The DISCLOSE Act goes even further and expands the “electioneering communications” period of time during which those trying to participate in our democracy may violate new, confusing laws. That’s the number of days before elections when politicians have decided they want to control free speech. Under DISCLOSE II, the period for communications mentioning candidates for Congress would run from January 1 of the election year through the date of election. Those are exactly the days when participation should be encouraged.

I urge you to call your senators and ask them to vote NO on S.3369, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. We will count their vote as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2012. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.


Matt Kibbe
President and CEO
[Click here for a PDF version of this key vote notice.] 

Scott Szpila

The Disclose Act is IMPORTANT!!! It's a time-tested (over a century) way of limiting the hand corporations and foreign interests have in determining who wins our elections!! You're saying it should be voted down due to violations of free speech?! Absolute crap. Look, if you want the most massive corporations and FOREIGN interests to contribute major funds to the candidate THEY want to see elected, fine. Vote no on it. If you want to see the AMERICAN PEOPLE still have some say in who WE want elected, then TELL CONGRESS TO KEEP THE DISCLOSE ACT IN PLACE!! This act was designed to stem government corruption and keep some semblance of fair elections. Voting no on it will make it so FOREIGN INTERESTS AND MASSIVE CORPORATIONS CAN BUY YOUR NEXT PRESIDENT. Suit yourself.

Maureen Trovato's picture

Did you read this bill, Scott! Are you kidding? Do you really believe this is an attempt to reign in corporate donations? They are supposed to have accomplished that already with McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform. How has that been working for you, Scott? Hmmm? All that did was push contributions further underground and away from transparency by creating the unintended consequence of the proliferation of hundreds of PAC's!!!Clearly the only possible intent of this new law is to clamp down even harder on any combination of contributions starting at $1000. Does that look like a corporate sized donation? I don't think so! Say, for example, I were to solicit donations for the candidate I believe in, which I ought to be able to do, right? And say I am so persuasive that I get ten people to donate $100 dollars. First of all I wouldn't be able to do that without first establishing a PAC and then my small little PAC would now be required to abide by this whole slew of regulations regarding the timing of, the amount of, the names and addresses of all of the contributors. This is flagrant intimidation tactics written into law by our representatives!!! Ohh you go right ahead and keep on believing this is all about protecting the little guy. Protecting us from what? Maybe from contributing too much of our hard earned money on a candidate that would actually beat these guys in the next election and set about restoring our liberties. That would be nice, don't you think? But the ones sponsoring this legislation are never going to let that happen. They have the power and they will legislate themselves more power if we don't stop them. You truly have been duped. Please, please take another look at why it is you trust what this government has been doing.