Another day, another attack on the Constitution by Congress and John Hall. Last time it was the Commerce Clause (read about it here); this time your First Amendment freedom of speech is in the Congressional Democrats’ crosshairs, and once again John Hall has chosen the wrong side. With his vote in favor of the so-called DISCLOSE Act, Rep. Hall is effectively picking and choosing who enjoys freedom of political speech, depending on whether the speech in question favors his friends.
The DISCLOSE Act is the Pelosi/Reid-led attempt to save face after the Supreme Court dealt them a defeat in January’s Citizens United v. FEC decision. In Citizens United, the Court ruled in essence that the dollars spent on political campaigns by independent organizations are a form of protected political speech. After all, those dollars fund messages that try to persuade people to take a certain position. Furthermore, it’s every bit as OK for a corporation to pay for that persuasive speech as it is for any other organization to do so. Democrats were unhappy. During his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama even accused the Justices (falsely) of enabling foreign corporations to “bankroll” American elections. You may remember Justice Samuel Alito responding by grimacing, shaking his head, and visibly mouthing the words, “Not true.”
So Pelosi and Reid have decided to wage their own war on the Supreme Court’s ruling by instituting a new set of restrictions on speech by corporations, among other entities. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a top Democrat and the bill’s primary author in the House, started the mess by offering an exemption to the National Rifle Association, a vocal opponent of the bill on First Amendment grounds, in order to persuade them not to lobby actively against it. Other Democrats on the left objected to Van Hollen’s tactic, and threatened to kill the bill over the NRA exemption. Van Hollen capitulated by offering similar exemption language to labor unions, which lured back enough Democrats on the left wing to patch together a slim majority.
Perhaps the words “cynical”, “dishonest”, and “manipulative” come to your mind as they do to mine when you think about the DISCLOSE Act. Perhaps also when you think about the people who voted for it. John Hall, as it happens, has raked in a total of over $130,000 this cycle from SEIU, AFSCME, the Teamsters, and other unions who no longer need to worry over the Act. Not surprisingly, Mr. Hall voted in step with Nancy Pelosi, as he nearly always has, and the Act passed the House, 219-206.
Given the choice between his political cronies and the Constitution he is sworn to uphold, John Hall chose his cronies.
It’s time to make your voice heard! Join our campaign to replace John Hall on November 2, and restore to Congress the voice of fiscal sanity and respect for your freedoms — not only to speak, but also to earn and invest and spend right here at home. Please take a moment today to clock on the 30/30 Vision Drive button at left or on our website, and contribute $30 or more by June 30; we need your support to win! Thank you!