McConnell Op-Ed: Disclose Act Designed To Enable Same Types Of Abuses As At IRS
|by AF "Tony" Branco|
The Senate voted 27-71 to reject an amendment to the farm bill from Sen. Sanders (I-VT) that would have allowed states to require genetically modified food carry a label about it.
After an exchange about Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) threats to break Senate rules to change filibuster rules, senators agreed by unanimous consent to hold a vote on the nomination of Srikanth Srinivasan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Senate will then resume consideration of S. 954 and vote on an amendment being offered by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) concerning tobacco crop insurance.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 99-0 to pass S. Res. 65, the Iran sanctions resolution, and 45-54 to reject an amendment to the farm bill from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Today, the House passed 221-198 H.R. 1911 — "To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish interest rates for new loans made on or after July 1, 2013."
The House Leadership also addressed the Senate Gang of 8 and Democrats pushing a new Immigration amnesty bill. The following statement was issued today by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA):
Yesterday, the House after numerous amendment votes passed 241-175 the Keystone XL Ppipeline -Northern Route Approval Act H.R. 3 — "To approve the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline, and for other purposes." It was surprising to see so many democrats voting to reject jobs.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) applauded the passage of H.R. 3, “When American families hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, they’ll once again be paying the price for the Obama administration’s failed energy policy. Gas prices have nearly doubled on the president’s watch, draining family budgets and making it harder for small businesses to hire. The Northern Route Approval Act, part of Republicans’ plan for economic growth and jobs, will help families and small businesses by approving the Keystone pipeline and removing barriers that could keep it tied up in legal limbo for years.
“The Keystone pipeline will create tens of thousands of American jobs and pump nearly a million barrels of oil to U.S. refineries each day, helping to lower gas prices, boost economic growth, enhance our energy security, and revitalize manufacturing. The project is backed by a majority of the American people, including members of the president’s own party. Labor unions have rallied for its approval, saying it’s ‘not just a pipeline, it’s a lifeline.’ Unfortunately, after nearly five years of blocking the project, it’s a lifeline President Obama is refusing to toss American workers.
“House Republicans will continue fighting for the Keystone pipeline as part of our jobs plan that cuts red tape and unlocks more of America’s resources. It is time for the president to put his political calculations aside, work with Republicans to approve the Keystone pipeline, and advance a growth and jobs agenda that will help our economy grow and put more Americans back to work.”
In an important op-ed for The Washington Post today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell writes, “Revelations about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups have raised important questions about the Obama administration’s commitment to the First Amendment. Yet there is ample evidence to suggest that the culture of intimidation in which these tactics were allowed to flourish goes well beyond one agency or a few rogue employees. . . . When it comes to rewarding friends and punishing enemies, the IRS is not alone. In fact, recent efforts to revive the so-called Disclose Act suggest that these tactics are alive and well in Washington.”
Indeed, at a press conference last week, in the course of discussing what he called the “inappropriate behavior at the Internal Revenue Service” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also said that in light of the IRS scandal, “We should take another look at the Disclose Act.”
And at this week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the IRS abuses, Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak noted that Democrats kept looking to “turn the focus away from political targeting in the IRS and back towards campaign finance reform in general. . . . They want to make the issue about the Citizens United case and 501(c)4 groups in general.” Last week, David Freddoso wrote, “Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee focused like a laser on the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision as the true culprit for this targeting.”
For three years now, Democrats have pushed the Disclose Act as their answer to the Citizens United case.
Leader McConnell explains the real goal of the Disclose Act in his op-ed. “This bill, which would force grass-roots groups to make their member and donor lists public, may seem benign to some. But as a longtime defender of the First Amendment, I have always seen it for what it is: a backdoor effort to discourage those who disagree with the Obama administration from participating in the political process. The abuses at the IRS — which include selective sharing with left-wing journalists of confidential information about conservative groups — is just the kind of thing the Disclose Act was designed to enable.”
He goes on to detail some of the intimidation tactics used by Democrats and the Obama administration in recent years that would only be encouraged and aided by the Disclose Act: “The spread of the speech police under the Obama administration has long been apparent. We all saw the president’s reelection team using the politics of intimidation, with old-school ‘enemies lists’ and explicit attacks on groups and other private citizens. At the same time, the administration has been extremely creative in employing throughout the federal government the sorts of intimidation tactics that were used at the IRS. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, for instance, have pushed for more than two years for a rule that would compel third-party groups to reveal their donors. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) support a similar rule for disclosing the donors to groups airing advertisements on issues of concern to the public. This is on the heels of the FCC approving a rule last year that requires broadcasters to list the names of groups that pay for, or want to pay for, ads online. And the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering requiring publicly held companies to disclose political activities. White House staffers have gotten in on the act. The president’s lawyers circulated a draft executive order in 2011 that would have required anyone bidding for a government contract to disclose political donations. The message was clear: If you want a government contract, be careful which causes or candidates you support because the White House will know.”
Leader McConnell concludes, “These tactics are straight out of the left-wing playbook: Expose your opponents to public view, release the liberal thugs and hope the public pressure or unwanted attention scares them from supporting causes you oppose. This is what the administration has done through federal agencies such as the FCC and the FEC, and it’s what proponents of the Disclose Act plan to do with donor and member lists. Oddly, some on the left are now arguing that the IRS scandal is reason to revive the Disclose Act. But if this scandal has taught us anything, it is that Washington’s ability to target individuals and groups is already too expansive. We should be looking at ways to limit, not expand, the government’s ability to target people because of their beliefs and the causes they support. And we should take a serious look at the culture that enabled this scandal. . . . The First Amendment was not written to protect popular speech. It was written to protect speech that was not popular. The moment we lose sight of that, we betray the principle of equal justice that lies at the heart of our system.
Tags: House, XL Pipeline Bill, Senate Intimidation, Disclose Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!