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DISCLOSE, the choice: The First Amendment, or 37 amendments?

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday to write the rule for House floor consideration of H.R. 5175, given the preposterous title, "Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act." This is the bill to regulate political speech and campaign spending in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

House members have put forward 37 proposed amendments they want the full House to consider. (List here.) There are a few that call for more freedom and/or disclosure; Rep. Steve King (R-IA), for example, wants to eliminate all limitations on federal election campaign contributions. But the amendments mostly propose more regulations, controls, limits and sanctions on speech.

Several are aggressively unconstitutional:

Grayson (FL): #21
Would amend title I of the DISCLOSE Act by adding a new section 106 at the end. This new section would ban expenditures and disbursements for electioneering communications by corporations employing or retaining registered lobbyists.

Kucinich (OH) #23
Would clarify that the bill would prohibit those with leases on the Outer Continental Shelf from making campaign-related expenditures.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.