But the Disclose Act isn’t really intended to elicit information not currently required by law. The act serves notice on certain speakers that their involvement in the political process will exact a high price of regulation, penalty and notoriety, using disclosure and reporting as a subterfuge to chill their political speech and association.
The ability of American citizens to communicate with their elected officials is one of the most important rights that help preserve our freedoms. In fact, of all the forms of speech protected by the First Amendment, political speech is at the top of the list.
This is exactly what the Supreme Court said earlier this year, in Citizens United v. FEC, when it ruled unconstitutional huge portions of the McCain-Feingold law, otherwise known as the Incumbent Protection Act.
Now, in an effort to undo the victory at the Supreme Court, liberals in Congress are attempting to pass the so-called DISCLOSE Act, which would severely limit the ability of GOA to communicate to our members and the general public.
This unconstitutional bill could come to the floor of the House as early as Thursday.
Sadly, as we reported yesterday, some in the pro-gun community have abandoned the principle of protecting the free speech rights of all Americans, so long as their ox is not being gored in this instance.
The NRA, which had previously opposed the DISCLOSE Act, has now accepted a deal to exempt that organization from the bill.
This is a startling about-face by the association.
When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of political speech in Citizens United, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre praised the decision, saying, “This ruling is a victory for anyone who believes that the First Amendment applies to each and every one of us…. This is a defeat for arrogant elitists who wanted to carve out free speech as a privilege for themselves and deny it to the rest of us.” (Emphasis added.)
That’s a far cry from the NRA statement to Congress this week regarding legislation specifically designed to undo that Supreme Court decision.
“On June 14, 2010, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged that H.R. 5175 [DISCLOSE Act] would be amended to exempt groups like the NRA, that meet certain criteria, from its onerous restrictions on political speech,” reads the statement.
“As a result, and as long as that remains the case, the NRA will not be involved in final consideration of the House bill.”
Apparently it’s ok to “carve out” a little free speech if you’re in the role of the “elitists.”
But the misguided NRA exemption will leave millions and millions of gun owners and sportsmen belonging to dozens of different organizations out in the cold.