Democrats Threaten Americans’ Privacy and Political Speech
‘For decades, Washington Democrats have looked for opportunities to expand the reach of unelected federal bureaucrats to police the political activities of private citizens. This DISCLOSE Act is just one more example of a troubling tendency on today’s political left: Quit trying to play by the rules and demanding a change in the rules instead.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the DISCLOSE Act:
“Unfortunately, inflation and tax hikes don’t exhaust Washington Democrats’ capacity to make trouble for the American people.
“Today, the Rules Committee will be reviewing the DISCLOSE Act, a seemingly annual liberal attempt to restrict political speech by threatening the privacy of those who see things differently from them.
“For decades, Washington Democrats have looked for opportunities to expand the reach of unelected federal bureaucrats to police the political activities of private citizens. This DISCLOSE Act is just one more example of a troubling tendency on today’s political left: Quit trying to play by the rules and demanding a change in the rules instead.
“The DISCLOSE Act was a key pillar of the sweeping election takeover Democrats have been trying to pass since they lost an election in 2016. For years, they’ve failed to convince majorities in Congress – or among the American people – that the future of our democracy requires the playing field to be tilted toward their side.
“But failing to overhaul the system hasn’t stopped liberals from sabotaging the guardrails that protect political speech from the inside.
“Remember, the naming and shaming of conservatives for ‘wrong think’ was practically an official policy back in the Obama-Biden IRS.
“More recently, leaked confidential taxpayer information from the IRS wound up in the hands of liberal publications just in time for tax debates on the Hill.
“Now Washington Democrats want to grease the skids for more.
“Needless to say, whether or not disclosure was legal hasn’t been a primary concern for the liberals behind these leaks in recent years.
“But to the extent our Democratic colleagues want to have a conversation about laws on the books, donations to political action committees are already disclosed to the FEC. So are donations to 501c4 organizations aimed at influencing federal elections.
“In other words, existing law has already thought of this.
“What our colleagues want to do is newly expand the definition of political speech and stretch disclosure requirements.
“They want Americans who oppose them politically to have to either abandon their privacy or abandon the public square.
“They want conservatives to choose between their livelihoods or their political beliefs. The chilling effect on Americans’ speech is by design, not by coincidence.
“The same liberal groups that urged radical mobs to intimidate Supreme Court Justices outside their private family homes… and the same elected Democratic officials who refused to condemn that illegal intimidation… now want to systematically ‘out’ ordinary private citizens’ private donations and political speech.
“The pro-intimidation, anti-privacy modern left wants less privacy surrounding the First Amendment. It doesn’t take much connecting the dots to see why.
“Even the liberal ACLU warned years ago that what liberals want here, ‘unconstitutionally infringes on freedom of speech and the right to associational privacy’.
“More recently, the NAACP and the ACLU teamed up in fighting state-level public disclosure laws at the Supreme Court – on the same side as myself and several other Republican Senators. They reiterated the landmark ruling in NAACP v. Alabama that ‘Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.’
“But today’s Democrats disagree.
“Over the years, Washington Democrats have cycled through a litany of reasons for passing their sweeping takeover of American elections. But while the rationales change constantly, the goal never changes an inch.
“More power for elected Democrats to rewrite the rules of their own elections… and more power for the political left to harass and intimidate citizens who don’t think like them.”
Related Issues: Campaigns & Elections, First Amendment, Senate Democrats