Sunday, April 25, 2010

Democrats Move to Undercut Citizens United Ruling - And Inadvertantly Step In It Again

Upcoming this week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Representative Mike Castle (Rino-Del.) plan to unveil legislation designed to attack the Supreme Court's landmark slapdown of McCain-Feingold..the Citizens United decision.

They even have a cute name for this, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act(DISCLOSE).

I smiled when I read this, because I see what's coming. Let's look at some of the proposed bill's provisions:

1. Enhance Disclaimers: Make CEOs and other leaders take responsibility for their ads.

If a corporation, union, section 501(c)(4), (5), or (6) organization, or section 527 organization spend on campaign-related activity, its CEO or organization head will have to stand by the ad and say that he or she “approves this message,” just like candidates have to do now. In order to seek out the real money behind the ad, this legislation will drill down several layers and require the top contributor directing the funds to also “stand by the ad.” Additionally, we require the top five contributors to an organization to be listed on the screen.

Hmmmm...does that mean that from now on, George Soros' name is going to be listed on the garbage aired by MoveOn and the DNC? Whoopsie!

2. Enhance Disclosures: It is time to follow the money.

Any covered organization must disclose within 24 hours to the FEC not just its campaign-related activity, but also transfers of money to other groups which can then be used for campaign-related activity. Additionally, a covered organization must disclose its donors and has two options: 1) it can disclose all of its donors $1,000 and above; or 2) it can set up a “Campaign-Related Activity” account and disclose only those political donors to that account $1,000 and above. If, however, the organization dips into its general account for funds, it must then disclose all its general treasury donors in excess of $10,000. In both options, the Act allows for organizations to “wall-off” donations if the donor does not want the money to go to campaign-related spending.

So union members will be allowed to 'wall off' donations to the Democrats from their union bosses if they want? Equal protection, you know. Double whoopsie!

3. Prevent Foreign Influence: Foreign countries and entities should not be determining the outcome of our elections.

Corporations that have either 1) a foreign entity controlling 20% of its voting shares; 2) foreign nationals comprising a majority of its board of directors; 3) a foreign national who directs, dictates, or controls U.S. operations; or 4) a foreign national who directs, dictates, or controls political decision-making are banned from spending in U.S. elections. If a corporation is under the direction or control of a foreign entity, it should not be able to spend money on our elections.

So...this means CAIR, MPAC ISNA and other Islamist organizations funded primarily by the Saudis and the UAE are out of business, no? There are some Democrat congressmen who are going to be very distressed by this.

4. Shareholder/Member Disclosure: We should allow shareholders and members to know where money goes.

This provision would mandate disclosure by corporations, unions, and other groups to their shareholders and members in their annual and periodic reports. This would also require these groups to make their political spending public on their websites within 24 hours after filing with the FEC.

No problem here.Bring it on.

5. Prevent Government Contractors from Spending: Taxpayer money should not be spent on political ads.

Due to the appearance of corruption and possible misuse of taxpayer funds, government contractors with a contract worth more than $50,000 will not be allowed to spend money on elections. Similarly, TARP recipients who have not paid back government funds are also banned from spending.

So, no more public employee union donations to the Democrats ever again! After all, don't these unions have government contracts worth more than $50,000? TRIPLE whoopsie!

6. Provide the Lowest Unit Rate for Candidates and Parties: Special interests should not drown out the voices of the people.

If a covered organization buys airtime to run ads that support or attack a candidate, then candidates, parties, and party committees get to take advantage of the lowest unit rate for that market. This provision is limited specifically to that media market. Additionally we improve the reasonable access provisions to ensure that candidates are not shut out of airtime.

Some animals are more equal than others, hmmm? Blatantly unconstitutional, in that it effectively mandates by law a discount for one side..and usually Democrats and only Democrats. If this is in the bill, I can hear John Roberts and Anthony Scalia chortling from here.

7. Tighten Coordination Rules: Corporations should not be able to “sponsor” a candidate.

Loopholes in current coordination rules would be filled, thereby banning coordination between a candidate and outside groups on ads that reference a candidate from the time period beginning 90 days before a primary and running through the general election. At the same time, rules limiting coordination between the party and the candidate are loosened a bit to allow for effective responses to the influx of corporate and special interest money.

"Outside groups"? So no more Trial Lawyer's Association, MoveOn, Code Pink or union backed ads 90 days before a primary and through the election? Quadruple whoopsie!

I actually hope these clowns try and push this through. It's hard for me to decide whether it would be better to let it pass and then demand that the obvious players be covered by this ridiculous piece of legislation or to simply tie it up and let it collapse in Congress.

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B.Poster said...

I think the legislation is actually designed to curtail the actions of some of the "obvious players." Just because they are Democrats does not necessarily mean they are in the hip pockets of these "obvious players."

Please understand that this is not meant as an endorsement of the legislation. It is simply to point something out that you may not be considering. That is that the Democrats and the Republican pushing this bill actually want the obvious players you mentioned covered under this legislation.

Btw, a RINO is someone who is a true Conservative. For example someone like Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin would be a true RINO. Men like Mike Castle actually represent the beliefs and vaules of the Republican leadership.

With regards to number three, I suspect there a number of Congressmen who would love to see organizations like CAIR shut down. I also, suspect there are a number of BOTH Democrats and Republicans who would be distressed by CAIR and others being shut down.

I agree with the assessement you make in the last paragraph of the post. Is it better to let it pass and demand the obvious players be covered or tie it up in Congress. Clearly the people pushing the bill want to pass it and demand that these players be covered. If it is going to be tied up, the Republicans can't do it. They don't have the votes. The Democrats would have to decide to do it because they don't want the obvious players to be covered.

Why are you referring to the people pushing this as "clowns?" While the bill may be misguided, it is a clear attempt to limit the influence of certain bad actors in the American political system. To call them clowns implies they are not serious. These appear to be very serious people indeed even if they might be misguided.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Poster,

I refer to the congressmen who drafted this legislation as 'clowns' because while the purpose was to stop corporate giving, the people who will mainly be affected are the Democrats' sacred cows,George Soros and the far left groups he funds, the public employee unions, the trial lawyers and this was quite obviously NOT their intention.

It is also blatantly unconstitutional as written, and should the Dems ram it through it will either be court challenged successfully or will have to eliminate the Dems main sources of funding under the equal protection clause of our Constitution.

That's why, as I said, I'm undecided on whether it would be better to let it pass and then demand that the obvious Dem financial benefactors be covered by this ridiculous bill or to simply tie it up and let it collapse.


B.Poster said...


As always, thanks for the reply to my post. Perhaps it was not the intent of the people passing this bill to curtail the activities of the "sacred cows" but I think it may well have been. After all, I think it is unlikely that everyone in the Democratic party is beholden to George Soros or other far left groups.

You may be correct that this bill may be unconstitutional. After all, if you eliminate corporate contributions, you eliminate the ability of the people who work for these corporations or other stakeholders associated with these corporations to petition their government regarding grievences. This sounds like it could be unconstitutional.

If the Democrats want the bill to be passed, they own the lower courts. As such, a court challenge by opponents of the bill will be unsuccessful at that level. Also, it will take some time for the challenges to wind there way through the courts. As I recall, Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring from the Supreme Court. He will be replaced by someone far more liberal than he is and the Moderates on the court, if there are any, will not want to run afoul of Obama right now. As such, a court challenge will be unsuccesful.

Whether it is better to pass the bill or not the Republicans have no control over this process right now. This is entirely up to the Democrats. I predict the Democrats will "tie it up and let it collapse" becuase the leadership does not want the "obvious Dem financail benefactors" covered, as you put it.

If given a choice, I would be tempted to say pass the bill. If George Soros and his ilk are covered, at least this might level the playing field some what.

I respectfully disagree with the notion that the bill is "ridiculous." This bill, while it may be misguied and should not pass and if it does pass perhaps it should be struck down by the Supreme Court, appears to have been done by serious people who are attempting to address a serious problem.