Free Speech Gag Bill Moving in House

 
As noted in previous posts, Free Speech is under attack from a multitude of angles.  The DISCLOSE Act is the latest overt attempt to abridge the right to political speech.  The language of the DISCLOSE Act on the surface sounds benign and in some cases actually seems like a rational attempt to reign in special interest and seedy politicians “on the take” so to speak.  As always, the devil is in the details.  In this case, the devil is in the exemptions which is nothing more than picking and choosing based upon political criteria which speech is protected and which is not.
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.
 
A notable exemption was carved out for the NRA, angering Gun Owners of America for this disproportionate treatment and ostensible censoring of their rights to political speech.
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.  

 
For more on the DISCLOSE Act, please see the following links.

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h5175/text

http://reason.com/blog/2010/06/14/disclose-act-exemption-only-bi

I wear many hats but history, economics and political observance have always been a passion. I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Business with a degree in Information Systems and Digital Business with a minor in European History. I work for a small mom-and-pop IT consulting and software design company. We deal in servicing mostly government funded non-profit mental and behavioral health care agencies in the state of Ohio. In this I deal with Medicaid and Medicare funds and have a little insight on the boondoggles of government there. Thankfully the undemanding nature of my daily profession gives me ample time to read and stay aware of our current state of affairs which I find stranger than fiction in many instances. In addition to being in the IT field, I have also been self employed with a small contracting company so I might know a thing or two about the plight of small business that employs 71% of the American workforce. I however don't draw my knowledge from my day jobs, which I have had a few; I draw it from an intense obsession with facts and observation about the world in which I live. I do have formal education in things such as history, economics and finance particularly as it pertains to global issues, but I have come to find much of what I thought I knew from the formalities of a state university I had to unlearn through much time and independent research. I hope you enjoy what I bring you which is not often heard in the mainstream news outlets. I would like to think my own personal editorializing is not only edifying but thought provoking while not at all obnoxious. That last one may be a hard to achieve.

1 Comment

  1. envirow

    July 3, 2010 at 1:07 am

    woww.. nice article. keep posting dude.. thanks :)

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