Today, Americans for Tax Reform joined a coalition of conservative organizations and individuals opposing free speech restrictions in Georgia. If signed by Governor Nathan Deal, Senate Bill 127 would restrict the ability of nonprofit organizations from engaging in public debates and political discourse during election years. A House amendment was made to a Senate ethics bill that would subject nonprofit organizations to disclosure requirements imposed upon political campaigns and PACs.
From the letter:
“SB 127 now is remarkably similar to recent legislation pushed by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington, D.C. designed to silence advocacy groups from educating the voting public. Fortunately, it didn’t pass at the federal level.”
This is a clear effort intended to silence critics of incumbent legislators and it flies in the face of Supreme Court protections against this type of legislation.
“The 1958 Supreme Court case of NAACP v. Alabama put a stop to this type of onerous legislative restriction on free speech and free association. The Court’s decision to provide for “immunity from state scrutiny” for organizations like the NAACP at the time guaranteed an important protection on First Amendment rights. The case protected members of organizations from intimidation and harassment. The 2010 case of Citizens United v. FEC further restored free-speech protections for non-profit organizations.
SB 127 would tear down those constitutionally protected rights, for individuals and organizations.”
SB 127 stands to do far more damage than simply shielding legislators from educated voters.
“If this bill is signed into law, Georgia would restrict free speech and association more so than any other state in the nation. SB 127 stands to hurt not only the organizations who participate in public discourse but the voters, taxpayers, and residents of Georgia who will no longer be entitled to know where elected officials truly stand on important public policy issues.
The clandestine and confusing efforts to advance SB 127 not only make for bad public policy, but are seen by members of impacted organizations as a legislative weapon intended to silence dissenting voices.”
The coalition letter was signed by *(updated list):
Linda Fowler, Georgia Tea Party Patriots
Teresa Tatum, Georgia Tea Party Patriots
Debbie Dooley, Atlanta Tea Party & Georgia Tea Party Patriots
Jenny Beth Martin, Co-Founder of Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund
Jeanne Seaver, Chairman/ President of Georgia Grassroots Coalition
Erick Erickson, Editor of RedState.com
Tim Head, Executive Director of Faith and Freedom Coalition
Patrick Parsons, Executive Director of Georgia Gun Owners
Stuart Griffin, Chairman of Georgia Pro Life
Jason Pye, Georgia Resident/Director of Messaging at FreedomWorks
David Bossie, President and Chairman of Citizens United
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List
Brent Wm. Gardner, Vice President of Government Affairs at Americans for Prosperity
Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of Americans United for Life
Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks
Ed Martin, President of Eagle Forum
Amy Noone Frederick, President of 60 Plus Association
L. Brent Bozell III, Chairman of ForAmerica
Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment
Virginia Galloway, Southern Regional Director of Faith and Freedom Coalition
Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform
Healther Higgins, President and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice