The blog for Massachusetts Citizens for Life: the pro-life movement in the Bay State since 1973.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
DISCLOSE ACT passed the House, 219 - 206!
The Disclose Act: Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act (I kid you not) passed, 219 - 206 late this afternoon with all ten Massachusetts Congressmen voting for it. According to Newsmax:
"Heritage Foundation legal scholar Hans A. Von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, tells Newsmax that the timing of the legislation indicates its true purpose is muzzling groups that otherwise might freely voice their opposition to Democratic policies in campaign ads.
"The Disclose Act, also known as H.R. 5175, is written so that it takes effect 30 days after passage -- just in time to impact the November midterms.
"'That's just crazy,' Von Spakovsky tells Newsmax, "because whenever a new statute gets passed on campaign finance reform, the FEC has the job of creating the regulations needed to implement the statute. There is just no way the FEC, which I served on for two years, could in two months come up with regulations to enforce this law."
"Instead, he says, Democrats 'just seem to be intent on creating a legal morass,' the uncertainty of which would discourage organizations from trying to voice their views at all.
"Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley A. Smith, chairman of the Alexandria, Va.-based Center for Competitive Politics, recently told Newsmax the Act is 'one of the most partisan pieces of legislation to come down the pike.'
"One reason for the bill's revived prospects: The White House on Monday offered a strong endorsement, saying the measure 'takes great strides to hold corporations who participate in the Nation's elections accountable to the American people. As this is a matter of urgent importance, the administration urges prompt passage of the Disclose Act.'
"Democrats say the Disclose Act will shed light on who the sponsors of campaign advertising really are. Conservatives, meanwhile, consider it a partisan end-run around the Supreme Court ruling designed to give Democrats an advantage in the mid-terms.
"The Act stems from Citizens United vs. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down McCain-Feingold campaign-finance regulations that limited the rights of companies and associations to run political advertising.
"The Supreme Court ruled such restrictions are an unconstitutional abridgement of the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech.
"In his State of the Union address, President Obama publicly scolded the Supreme Court for that decision. He said the ruling would "open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections," and urged Congress "to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong."
"Von Spakovsky said the bill contains numerous 'absurd'regulations, such as requiring as many as six disclaimers in a 30-second ad regarding who paid for it.
"The Disclose Act also requires leading donors to actually appear in the ads to state their involvement -- whether the money they donated went to produce that particular ad or not. Nonprofits and companies would have to disclose the names of their top five donors, as well as face other restrictions.
"Such provisions, opponents of the bill say, are less about transparency than intimidating the corporate and association donors to stop promoting conservative candidates. Spakovsky predicts Democrats who try to justify the Disclose Act to constituents over the July recess are in for a big surprise.
"He tells Newsmax: 'The Democrats are making a mistake because actually, when you explain to folks what's really in this act, and you explain to folks what the Supreme Court actually did, as opposed to what the media portrays, a majority of American believe in the First Amendment and they come out saying, 'This is a bad law because it infringes on people's right to speak politically.'
"Leading Republicans tell Newsmax they believe that even if the bill passes the House, they have the votes to block it in the Senate."
The Senate should be taking up this travesty right after the July break. I'll let you know so that we can call Senator Brown to help the Republicans block it in the Senate. Just think, the change of seven votes would have defeated the bill! Thanks for all your calls and good work! Anne