June 22, 2010

DISCLOSE Act shenanigans

Continuing our discussion of the atrocious exemptions in the DISCLOSE Act, the RJ nailed it in yesterday's editorial.

As I've said, we need a system where both free speech and transparency peacefully co-exist. Private groups should be able present their message without government interference and citizens should be able to know who is backing candidates through comprehensive disclosure rules.

The DISCLOSE Act, as it currently stands, undermines both free speech and the principles of transparency. It unduly stifles free speech through onerous requirements while carving out exemptions for powerful interest groups. As a result, groups on the left, like the ACLU, and the right, such as the Chamber of Commerce, currently oppose the DISCLOSE Act.

If Congress really wants more transparent elections, they should focus on strengthening disclosure rules for politicians instead of trampling the free speech rights of private citizens. Allow citizens to speak and donate freely but just mandate full disclosure on the politician's part. This way, citizens can enjoy their First Amendment rights while elections remain transparent.