Citizens United on the DISCLOSE Act

Citizens United President David Bossie’s statement on the DISCLOSE Act:

“This bill, like many that have come before it, is a incumbent-protection power grab dressed up in the sheep’s clothing of ‘reform.’ The bureaucratic jungle that this bill would create will force groups of modest means like Citizens United to spend thousands of dollars of donor money on a battery of attorneys and accountants. This is precisely what the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC sought to avoid. The overly complicated regulatory scheme that Schumer and Van Hollen have proposed will chill free speech. Many grassroots organizations will not be able to afford the necessary legal advice and will be shut out of the debate entirely. As we have seen over the last twelve months, citizens across the country are coming together to oppose the out-of-control spending and rampant deficits that the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House have overseen. These are the people who the Democrats are scared of, and it is no coincidence that these are the people they aim to silence by this bill.

“Dating back to the first years of the Republic, the party in power has often sought to use its authority to silence critics for partisan advantage. The founding fathers, recognizing both the temptation and danger inherent in the power of incumbency, enshrined our absolute and inalienable right to speak out against the government in the First Amendment. Unfortunately, the Democrats have succumbed to the temptation of using their control of the levers of government to silence their critics in a cynical attempt to hold on to power during a bad election cycle.

“Since January, when the Supreme Court issued its resounding defense of the First Amendment, Democrats have been wailing that the ‘people’ will be drowned out by corporations in the political debate. But Citizens United is a ‘corporation’ funded by an average donation of around $50 from hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens across the country who wish to pool their resources in pursuit of a common goal. We are the very definition of a grassroots organization – we represent the collective voice of hundreds of thousands of like-minded people.

“Cloaked in the guise of ‘reform’ on behalf of ‘the people,’ this bill would make it difficult, if not impossible, for grassroots organizations like Citizens United to effectively communicate our members’ message. Acting alone, our members cannot be nearly as effective with their $50 as they are acting together, and this bill will create almost insurmountable barriers for average citizens to organize in a grassroots effort to support or oppose their own representatives.”

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.