Today, Americans for Tax Reform, accompanied by over fifty other groups, sent a letter to the United States House of Representatives urging members to oppose H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act. These groups ask Congress to reject this bill on behalf of millions of taxpayers and concerned citizens whose rights to free speech are significantly threatened by the DISCLOSE Act. The coalition wrote:
H.R. 5175 is being sold to the public as a “response” to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. However, this bill uses the ruling as an excuse to expand the scope of campaign finance regulations to strangle free speech.
The bill shifts the regulatory paradigm away from those who are actually funding advertisements and targets, for the first time, individual membership in a group. This inclusive treatment of organizational funding reveals that the intent of this legislation is not true disclosure – it is the intimidation of speech. It also 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.
The DISCLOSE Act, while cleverly named, aims to silence political speech by intimidation and onerous regulation. Such efforts should be rejected swiftly. Thus, on behalf of the millions of Americans we represent, we urge you to reject this assault on free speech and to vote against H.R. 5175.
The letter, in its entirety, can be found here.