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June 18, 2010

The DISCLOSE Act: “Defending Incumbents So as to Carefully Limit Opponents’ Speech Efforts”

As it turns out, stifling free speech is a lot harder than it looks.

House Democrats had originally hoped to put the DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections), a law intended torein in the increased influence of special interest money” from corporations following the Supreme Court decision earlier this year negating many restrictions on political speech by incorporated entities, up for a vote today.

Whose corporate special interest money were they trying to rein in?  Well, that depends.  If you are a union member, it would be yours.  Or an environmentalist, a gun rights supporter, a member of the Humane Society or the AARP.  Or a stockholder.  Or a purchaser of mutual funds.  Or a member of the NAACP, the Chamber of Commerce, and other advocacy groups.  Or a small business owner or worker or teacher or blogger or…

Well, you know, “special interests.”

That handful of Americans that Congress does not consider a special interest appears to number approximately 535.  And they all work at the Capitol.

After all, isn't it the highest purpose of government to protect those individuals most vulnerable among us.

Unfortunately, when you start cutting deals on who gets to express political opinions and who doesn’t, things can get complicated, as Nancy Pelosi was forced to pull the bill from the floor while various congressional constituencies protested that the political speech of their critics would not be adequately suppressed given all the compromises that were made.

And so a bill designed to limit free speech died not because it defied the basic principles on which this country was founded and was designed as an end run around the Supreme Court, but rather because it didn’t limit free speech enough.

Bill of Rights Technicality


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June 18, 2010 at 06:12 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Obviously, you can't have just anyone running around making political statements. Who knows what truths might emerge. The politicians only want to have the money put directly into their pockets and then they can fund the correct messages. And if some of the money should get tangled up with the lint in the bottom of the pocket, well, that is just the way it is.

Posted by: barryjo | Jun 21, 2010 9:09:05 AM

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