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September 26, 2022

Senate Fails To Advance Problematic DISCLOSE Act

On Thursday, September 23, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) brought up for a vote on the Senate floor a highly concerning piece of legislation that would threaten companies’ First Amendment right to freely associate through trade associations.

Introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), S. 4822, the DISCLOSE Act, would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional disclosure requirements for trade associations, corporations, labor organizations, some political action committees and other entities. The groups would have to disclose the name of any donor who has given the organization $10,000 or more during an election cycle.

Senate Republicans voted to prevent the measure from moving forward.

As The Wall Street Journal editorial board pointed out last week, free speech advocates oppose the DISCLOSE Act. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) senior legislative counsels Kate Ruane and Sonia Gill, for example, have argued that the disclosure of donors who give $10,000 to issues during an election cycle would “directly interfere with the ability of many to engage in political speech about causes that they care about” by “imposing onerous disclosure requirements on nonprofits committed to advancing those causes.”

The ACLU has a long history of opposition to this legislation. Read a letter from the ACLU written in 2010 here.

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