DISCLOSE A Democrat Harassment Tool
The Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of Citizens United Monday has caused Democrats and opponents of the ruling to renew their push for legislation to reveal the funders of independent political activity.
The DISCLOSE Act, sponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), would require groups spending more than $10,000 on election-related advertising to publicly name all donors who gave $10,000 or more. The bill would also require any broadcast advertisement to list the sponsoring group’s top five funders.
However, such disclosure requirements would be used to intimidate private citizens participating in the political process and chill freedom of speech and association, say some Republican lawmakers and advocacy groups such as the ACLU.
It is important “to call attention to the fact that disclosure is not an unmitigated good and can be used for wrong purposes,” said Brad Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics.
“What interest does the government have in assisting mobs—for lack of a better term—who want to attack people for exercising their First Amendment rights?” asked Smith.