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.]