In yet another move to curtail free speech in America, the House of Representatives plans to vote on a measure, the “Disclose” Act (H.R. 5175), which is intended to make it extremely difficult for corporations, including groups like Wisconsin Right to Life, to freely participate in the election process. The House bill carves out exceptions for labor unions and the National Rifle Association, making the measure especially insulting.
It is completely discriminatory for certain “favored” organizations to be allowed free speech while Wisconsin Right to Life, its chapters, its parent organization, and its colleagues in other states are restricted and even silenced.
Congress is attempting to put these new restrictions in place as soon as possible to blunt the impact of the January 2010 Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned previous speech restrictions enacted by the Congress.
Clearly, the provisions in the “Disclose” Act will ultimately be found unconstitutional. The goal appears to be to mute the voices of citizen groups for the November elections and for as long as they can get away with it.
Wisconsin Right to Life has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve the First Amendment right to free speech. In 2007, Wisconsin Right to Life was victorious in the U.S. Supreme Court in a challenge to the McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. The WRTL victory opened the door to positive legal and constitutional decisions in other cases like Citizens United as instrumental in restoring the ability to speak freely about issues and candidates, a principle that is at the core of our freedoms as Americans.