Expected to come to the House floor today, the now infamous DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175) places onerous regulations on activists interested in affecting the political process. Far from being evenhanded, the DISCLOSE Act gives unjustified preference to organized labor.
The DISCLOSE Act marks a stark departure from the traditional treatment of corporations and unions by applying punitive measures to associations in the corporate form, but not to labor unions, even though these groups have traditionally been treated similarly in campaign finance law:
- Companies that received federal money during the financial crisis face restrictions on speech, but not unions: General Motors cannot engage in express advocacy, urging voters to support a candidate by name, while the United Auto Workers union can
- Corporations, unions, non-profits and 527 groups will be required to report donors who give more than $600 if they engage in express advocacy, — average union dues, the source of the majority of their funds, in 2004 were $377
- Businesses with government contracts worth more than $7 million are not allowed to engage in express advocacy while public sector unions that receive their dues from the taxpayers are exempt from such restrictions
- Companies where a foreign entity owns 20 percent or more of a company’s shares are not allowed to engage in express advocacy while international unions are free to tell Americans how to vote
For these reasons and more, the Alliance for Worker Freedom urges all members to vote “no” on H.R. 5175, The DISCLOSE Act.