Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Lucas stood up for First Amendment rights with his vote against H.R. 5175 the DISCLOSE Act. The legislation was rapidly thrown together in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case. In their ruling, the Supreme Court struck down existing restrictions on corporate expenditures based on First Amendment grounds.
“The ‘DISCLOSE’ Act is nothing more than a restriction on free speech – except when it comes to labor unions and Washington special interest groups,” stated Lucas. “The Supreme Court spoke loud and clear when they held that it was unconstitutional to ban books and restrict political speech. Their decision in the Citizens United case was a victory for First Amendment rights and should not be diluted with hastily-crafted legislation that carves out special exceptions for groups historically supportive of Democrats in an election year.”
The legislation creates highly complex reporting requirements that are unlikely to impact unions, but will dramatically increase costs on small businesses and corporations. As with almost all large pieces of legislation pushed by the Obama Administration and Speaker Pelosi, the legislation forces these complex changes much too quickly – taking effect 30 days after it is signed into law – without waiting for the FEC to issue instructions and rules so people can follow the law and avoid criminal and civil punishment.
“It appears as though Speaker Pelosi and President Obama’s newest slogan should be: ‘The More Red Tape, The Better,’” stated Lucas. “Just like their government takeover of health care and their attempt to impose a $600 billion tax increase on energy, the DISCLOSE act creates more onerous rules and regulations that must be followed in order for American companies to assert their First Amendment right to free speech. This bill just means more government intrusion, more government regulations, and fewer rights for American citizens.”
The House of Representatives passed the legislation by a vote of 219 – 206. It will now be taken up by the Senate. Although no vote has been scheduled, Majority Leader Reid promised swift action on the bill once it passed the House.
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