Dems Smear More Lipstick On Their Partisan Election Takeover Pig

While Americans Keep Telling Pollsters They Have Much More Important Concerns, Democrats Are Trying To Force A Senate Showdown On ‘This Latest Umpteenth Iteration’ Of Their Partisan Proposals To Take Over Elections, Featuring ‘The Same Rotten Core’ Of Terrible Policies


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “As 2022 gets underway, working Americans and their families are facing a steady stream of significant challenges. The fastest-growing inflation in almost 40 years; violent crime rates that continue to rise, with many of our largest cities setting new all-time records for murders; a southern border that remains in crisis; a new, highly-contagious variant of the virus that President Biden promised he would personally crush; too few tests and too-slow new treatments on this Administration’s watch; and another rolling wave of school shutdowns, as Big Labor bosses continue to make hostages out of children’s futures over a virus that leaves children largely unharmed. Late last year, one poll asked Americans about the most important problems facing the country. Some were most worried about the high cost of living. Others said the pandemic. One-fifth of respondents, the most by far, said the biggest issue was poor leadership — at time when the Democratic Party controls the entire government. But, Mr. President, you know what wasn’t on that list of concerns? The fictional scary stories that liberal activists keep repeating about how democracy is on death’s door…. The American people are not buying the nonsensical talk of ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ or a voting rights crisis. Everybody apart from far-left activists and the press understands this emperor has no clothes…. This fake outrage is just a predicate for Washington Democrats to do something they have sought for years: Appoint themselves a nationwide board of elections on steroids. This is a takeover that Democrats have sought for multiple years, using multiple different justifications. It’s not a ‘voting rights’ bill. It is a sprawling, sweeping takeover of our democracy. Our colleagues’ bills would do things like forcing all 50 states to legalize corrupt ballot harvesting. They’d have the government send public funds directly to political campaigns. The same Attorney General who has frivolously sued Texas just to placate the White House, whose Department of Justice tries to intimidate parents, would be handed new power to micromanage election law. Some early drafts of this bill tried to literally, openly turn the Federal Election Commission into an outright partisan body. Talk about tipping your hand. These changes wouldn’t bolster faith in our democracy or our institutions. It would do the opposite. It would be a civic wrecking ball.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 1/05/2022)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “A recent survey asked Americans for their view of the most important problems facing our country. Of course, we know what Washington Democrats view as their top priority. President Biden and Senate Democrats have been shouting at the American people that an evil, racist anti-voting conspiracy will destroy democracy forever unless Democrats get total one-party control of the entire government starting next week. But are the American people buying any of it? Is this what working families want prioritized? In a recent survey, Gallup asked citizens for their priorities. Do you know what share of Americans said election law? Less than one half of one percent. Nobody in this country is buying the fake hysteria that democracy will die unless Democrats get total control. Here’s what people do care about. The top response at 21% was poor government leadership. About a year into the Biden Administration, the American people’s single greatest concern is bad leadership. And when you dig into the other issues, you can see why. Some of the next largest concerns were either general economic problems or inflation and rising costs in particular. And no wonder! New figures from just yesterday show our country continues to experience the worst inflation in 40 years. The worst inflation in 40 years.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 1/13/2022)


Senate Democrats Are Yet Again Putting Forward A Bill With ‘The Same Rotten Core’ As Their Original Partisan Election Takeover, Written By Democrats, For Democrats

LEADER McCONNELL: “Frankly, I’ve lost count of how many times our Democratic colleagues have tried to truss up the same takeover with new trappings. For multiple years running, Washington Democrats have offered a rotating merry-go-round of rationales to explain why they need to federalize voting laws and take over all of America’s elections themselves…. This latest umpteenth iteration is only a compromise in the sense that the left and the far left argued among themselves about exactly how much power to grab in which areas. This latest bill still subjects popular, commonsense state election integrity protections like voter ID to the whims of federal bureaucrats. It still sends government money to political campaigns, for goodness sakes. It still puts Washington in the middle of the states’ redistricting decisions. And on and on. The same rotten core is all there.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 10/20/2021)

“Moving quickly to force a showdown over voting rights, congressional Democrats plan to pursue a procedural shortcut to bring up stalled legislation and try to win its approval over deep Republican resistance. In a memo to Senate Democrats on Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, laid out a new strategy … Under the plan, the House would package two major pieces of voting rights legislation being pushed by Democrats — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — insert them into an unrelated bill and pass it. That measure would then go to the Senate as what is known as a ‘message’ …” (“Democrats Plan to Fast-Track Voting Rights Bill, Speeding a Showdown,” The New York Times, 1/12/2022)

“Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have amped up their opposition to both the voting bills and the proposed rules changes in recent days. Dozens of Republican senators have delivered floor speeches and press statements accusing Democrats of hypocrisy after arguing for the filibuster’s preservation under Republican majorities.” (The Washington Post, 1/12/2022)


Polls Keep Showing That Americans Have Many More Pressing Issues Than Democrats’ Obsession With Taking Over Elections

In a CBS News/YouGov poll from last week, a plurality of respondents said President Biden and Democrats in Congress are focusing on issues voters “don’t care about.” (“Biden At Year One: Not Enough Focus On Inflation Leaves Many Frustrated,” CBS News, 1/16/2022)

In November 2021, when asked about the most important problem facing the country today, less than 0.5 percent of respondents mentioned ‘Elections/Election reform.’ (Gallup, Accessed 1/12/2022)

  • In fact, as Democrats ramped up their extreme rhetoric about elections, the number of respondents mentioning ‘Elections/Election reform’ to Gallup as the most important problem facing the country declined from one percent in September to less than one half of one percent in November. (Gallup, Accessed 1/12/2022)

According to a Politico/Morning Consult Poll, “[E]lectoral reform in general is not a top issue of concern for the public right now. We asked voters which of three voting reform ideas should be ‘the top priority’ for Congress to pass: reforming Congress’ role in counting Electoral College votes, expanding voting access in federal elections or expanding oversight of states’ changes to voting practices. ‘None of the above’ (32%) beat out all of them.” (“Our Exclusive New Poll On Voting Rights,” Politico Playbook, 1/12/2022)


Democrats’ Real Urgency Seems To Be Their Stated Belief That Passing Their Federal Election Takeover Is Primarily About Helping Them Win Elections

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Well, we are working -- there are constant meetings and not just among a few senators but just about every senator. Every single one of the 50 is talking individually to Joe Manchin and to Kyrsten Sinema. And they’re saying things like I’ll lose my election if the legislature is allowed to do this in my state. We’ll lose our majority…” (MSNBC, 1/12/2022)

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC WHIP JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): “We screw up this voting thing and [Raphael] Warnock ain’t going to be in the Senate and we ain’t going to win nothing in North Carolina and we won’t have a chance down in Florida… If we do what is necessary to allow people to cast an unfettered vote, we won’t have to worry about that, because we’ll win big-time in off-year elections… But if we don’t, we’re going to lose big-time in off-year elections. First things first.” (“Biden to raise stakes in voting rights battle as his party presses for more,” NBC News, 7/13/2021)

PBS’ JUDY WOODRUFF: “Let me — well, speaking of elections, Democrats are facing a tough landscape in next year’s midterms. You have Republicans controlling the redrawing of congressional districts… in a number of states, in Texas, in Florida, in North Carolina, in addition to Georgia, the first three all gaining House seats. Isn’t that going to make it exceedingly uphill for your party to hold onto the majority in the House?”
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):Well, just the elections are about campaigns, and we are ready. We are ready with our M’s, mobilization to own the ground, to get out the vote with our message of unity for the people, again, so proud of what the Biden-Harris administration is putting forth, and then, of course, with the resources, the money that is needed to do this. But we would be better if we can pass the H.R.1 and S.1. in order to remove obstacles to participation for people to vote. But I would just say this. I think you have heard me say this before, but for the benefit of our audience, people talk about, well, in the past, the president’s party has lost seats in the off-year. Any assumptions about past elections are obsolete.” (PBS’ Newshour, 5/05/2021)


FLASHBACK: Senate Democrats Failed Four Times In The Past Year To Advance Their Partisan Election Takeover Legislation

In June 2021, Republicans unanimously rejected Democrats’ first attempt to pass their partisan election takeover legislation. (S.2093, Roll Call Vote #246: Motion rejected 50-50: D 48-0; R 0-50; I 2-0, 6/22/2021)

In August 2021, Democrats again failed to get any bipartisan support for their partisan election takeover legislation. (S.1, Roll Call Vote #358: Motion agreed to 50-49: D 48-0; R 0-49; I 2-0, 8/11/2021)

In October 2021 Democrats failed to get any bipartisan support for their repackaged partisan election takeover legislation. (S.2747, Motion rejected 49-51: D 47-1; R 0-50; I 2-0, 10/20/2021)

And in November 2021 Democrats failed to advance their partisan legislation to try to have the Justice Department take over elections from states. (S.4, Motion rejected 50-49: D 47-1; R 1-48; I 2-0, 11/03/2021)


Remember, Democrats Began Assembling The ‘Sweeping Liberal Wish List’ That Constitutes Their Partisan Election Takeover As Far Back As 2017, Unveiled It In 2018, And First Introduced It In 2019, Long Before Any Of The State Election Laws Democrats Claim They’re Responding To Existed

LEADER McCONNELL: “Remember, for several years now, our Democratic friends have claimed that every successive election proved they needed to grab partisan control over our democracy. In 2016, 2018, and 2020… win or lose… when foreign interference occurred and when it did not occur… every possible result has been claimed as proof that Washington Democrats should rip up our democracy’s rule book and write a new one that benefits them. The latest phony justification has been the false notion that a few states’ mainstream voting laws equal some kind of assault on democracy as we know it. Of course, that’s utter nonsense…. the reality is that these moving goalposts are fake. The frantic outrage is phony. It’s all meant to justify a political power grab that Democrats have had written and waiting since years before any of these new state laws which are supposedly prompting it.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/28/2021)

“In 2017 House Democrats wrote the For the People Act, commonly known as H.R. 1, to implement a myriad of political reforms … Think of it as the political reform version of the original Build Back Better bill: Instead of containing every Democratic spending priority, it contained every Dem political reform idea…. In private, many Democrats admit it was a hastily drafted messaging bill for the 2018 midterms.” (“The Election Reform Idea Gaining Currency On The Right,” Politico Playbook, 1/04/2022)

“As currently written, the bill constitutes a sweeping liberal wish list …” (“Democrats Splinter Over Strategy for Pushing Through Voting Rights Bill,” The New York Times, 3/30/2021)

  • “[T]he sweep — critics say overreach — of the Democrats’ … For the People Act, has undermined Democratic claims that the fate of the republic relies on its passage.” (The New York Times, 6/14/2021)

H.R.1 Was Announced In 2018 And Introduced On The Very First Day Of The 116th Congress In 2019

“Rep. John Sarbanes and other House Democrats announced plans [November 30th, 2018] for their first bill of the new, Democratic-controlled House of Representatives — a political reform measure … Sarbanes has chaired the Democracy Reform Task Force — a study and advocacy group — since January 2017. All the members are Democrats. The legislation is to include national automatic voter registration … It also would require all political organizations to disclose their donors…. The legislation would tighten rules on super PACs and overhaul the Federal Election Commission. The legislation is to have the title ‘H.R. 1’ to designate its significance.” (“Sarbanes, fellow Democrats say first bill of new U.S. House will seek to ‘drain the swamp’ with reforms,” The Baltimore Sun, 11/30/2018)

H.R. 1 was introduced on January 3rd, 2019 and House Democrats first passed it on March 8th. (H.R.1, 116th Congress)

“Democrats’ proposal to reshape the political system was born after they took over the House in 2019. They quickly put together a sweeping bill with new federal standards and rules that touch nearly every aspect of the campaigning and election administration process …” (“Senate Dems Don’t Know How to Salvage Their Voting Bill,” The Daily Beast, 6/14/2021)


The ‘Rotten Core’ Of Democrats’ Latest Partisan Power Grab Still Includes The Same Terrible Provisions

Some Of The New Provisions Are Lifted From Another Partisan Bill Dems Were Pushing Last Year Designed To Usurp States’ Abilities To Run Their Elections And Subject Their Decisions To Political Appointees At The Department Of Justice

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The bill’s biggest aim is to revive part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), which forced certain states and localities to get federal ‘preclearance’ before altering election rules…. Preclearance was supposed to last five years. Congress has extended it to 2031, without revising the 1975 criteria that determined which states were covered. This old formula is what the Supreme Court struck down in Shelby County v. Holder (2013). … Without a valid way to establish where it applied, the VRA’s preclearance process went dormant. H.R.4 would resuscitate it, while greatly expanding its reach. Every jurisdiction in the country would need to be on guard, since H.R.4 says that some election changes would automatically need federal preclearance, nationwide. These include many voter-ID rules, along with new district lines and polling locations in certain areas with a substantial proportion of racial or linguistic minorities. Preclearance would be required more broadly in any state where 15 ‘voting rights violations’ occurred in the previous 25 years, with a lower threshold for smaller jurisdictions. What’s a ‘violation’? It includes prior rejections via the preclearance process. It also counts federal court rulings that found a breach of protected voting rights, plus some legal settlements to the same effect. Violations could be created if Democratic officials settled lawsuits brought by Democratic attorneys.(Editorial, “Nancy Pelosi’s Next Bad Voting Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/22/2021)

  • “Given the Democratic panic over mundane voting changes in Georgia and Florida, no one should want to give Washington a veto over redistricting maps, election schedules, precinct plans, ballot translations, polling-place sites and much more. Imagine a new state law that bans ballot harvesting. Would that be deemed a neutral rule, or rejected as voter suppression? The Biden Justice Department’s dubious and political lawsuit against Georgia’s election law has answered that question.” (Editorial, “Nancy Pelosi’s Next Bad Voting Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/22/2021)

LEADER McCONNELL: “What this rewrite of [the Voting Rights Act] does is grant to the Justice Department almost total ability to determine the voting systems of every state in America, which they’re trying to do directly through H.R.1, they would try to achieve indirectly through this rewrite of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court did not strike down the Voting Rights Act. It’s still the law. What they struck down was the preclearance part of it that applied only to the southern part of the United States, because the Supreme Court concluded the conditions that existed in 1965 no longer existed. So, there’s no threat to the Voting Rights [Act]. It’s against the law to discriminate in voting on the base of race already …” (Sen. McConnell, Press Conference, 6/08/2021)


Democrats’ Partisan Bill Still Features A ‘Federal Commandeering Of State-Run Elections,’ ‘A Solution In Search Of A Problem’

LEADER McCONNELL: “Let me say for the umpteenth time, going back to discussions about federalizing the way we handle elections after the 2016 election, that there is no rational basis for the federal government taking over how we conduct elections in this country…. It is a solution in search of a problem, and we will not be supporting that.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Conference, 10/19/2021)

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO), Senate Rules & Administration Committee Ranking Member: “Democracies benefits from local responsibility. One political party, however, thinks this bill will give it an electoral advantage. They have thought that for about 20 years. This is the compilation of 20 years of Democrats in the Congress thinking, what could we do to change the election law that would be helpful for us? That is where we are in this legislation. It was written by one party alone. It has been steered through Congress by one party alone.” (Sen. Blunt, Congressional Record, S.4566, 6/16/2021)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): “I represent a state with one of the highest turnouts in the country consistently, and yet we don’t have early voting…. So I don’t see why the federal government should impose rules on a state and preempt state laws for a state that’s doing a great job.” (The Washington Post, 9/14/2021)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “[H]ere is the bottom line: Each State has the authority to determine the ‘times, places, and manner of holding elections.’ Where does that come from? Well, that is article I of the Constitution of the United States of America. But our Democratic colleagues insist on pushing for a one-size-fits-all mandate that turns federalism, including the Constitution itself, on its head…. [T]his Federal commandeering of State-run elections, is rife with opportunities for fraud. It mandates things like automatic voter registration and ballot drop boxes, while making it more difficult for the States to maintain accurate voter lists. It would even go so far as to make it harder for the States to remove dead voters from their rolls…. Why would Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi be pushing this takeover of State-run elections? Well, it is pretty obvious. They think that our Democratic colleagues will reap the benefits of hijacking State election laws. That is really their goal here. They want to put a thumb on the scale of future elections. They want to take power away from the voters and the States and give themselves every partisan advantage they can.” (Sen. Cornyn, Congressional Record, S.4003, 6/09/2021)

HONEST ELECTIONS PROJECT: “The newly introduced “Freedom to Vote Act” is a partisan, federal takeover of elections just like past legislation …

  • “The bill makes it harder for states to remove ineligible voters from the rolls, replace incompetent officials, protect voters from electioneering, and to allow poll observers to monitor voting.
  • “Instead of allowing communities to determine the best way to run their elections, this bill forces every state, despite obvious logistical difference, to meet Washington’s arbitrary standards. 
  • “The bill overrides the Constitution and restores voting privileges to convicted felons before they complete their sentences or pay victim restitution. The 14th Amendment expressly leaves felon voting decisions to the states.


Democrats’ Partisan Bill Would Still Send Federal Money To Partisan Political Campaigns

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): “[I]n each new Congress, the bill number S. 1 is a sign of the majority’s priority legislation. It says a lot about the new Democrat majority that the bill they chose to design as S. 1 prioritizes themselves. This bill creates a Federal campaign fund to finance the expenses of candidates for Congress. Instead of addressing the important issues that are on the minds of my fellow Iowans--like the rising cost of gasoline, bread, milk, and all sorts of household goods--this bill literally takes [public] money … puts it into the campaign coffers of Washington politicians. Rather than helping to get Americans back to work, the Democrats’ top priority, again, is S. 1. Their top priority is to create a Federal jobs program for political consultants and pollsters, taxpayer-subsidized robocalls interrupting your family dinner, junk mail cluttering your mailbox, and attack ads blaring--yes--on your TV…. That is right. The bill subsidizes politicians’ campaigns--your tax dollars helping to elect politicians who oppose your values…. While the Democrats call the bill the For the People Act, a more apt title would be ‘Fund the Politicians Act.’” (Sen. Ernst, Congressional Record, S.4571, 6/16/2021)

Follow The Money: Democrats’ Latest Partisan Bill Still Collects Public Money And Then Authorizes It To Be Distributed To Political Candidates

PAGE 564: “SEC. 8111. Benefits and eligibility requirements for candidates.
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30101 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘TITLE V—Small Dollar Financing of Elections for House of Representatives
Subtitle A—Benefits
SEC. 501. Benefits for participating candidates.
(a) In general.—If a candidate for election to the office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress is certified as a participating candidate under this title with respect to an election for such office, the candidate shall be entitled to payments as provided under this title.
(b) Amount of payment.—The amount of a payment made under this title shall be equal to 600 percent of the amount of qualified small dollar contributions received by the candidate since the most recent payment made to the candidate under this title during the election cycle …” (U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee Print 117-28, 1/12/2022)

PAGE 596: “SEC. 541. Source of payments.
(a) Allocations from State Election Assistance and Innovation Trust Fund.—The amounts used to make payments to participating candidates under this title who seek office in a State shall be derived from the allocations made to the Commission with respect to the State from the State Election Assistance and Innovation Trust Fund (hereafter referred to as the ‘Fund’) under section 8012 of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, as provided under section 8005(c) of such Act.” (U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee Print 117-28, 1/12/2022)

PAGE 545: “SEC. 8011. State Election Assistance and Innovation Trust Fund.
(a) Establishment.—There is established in the Treasury a fund to be known as the ‘State Election Assistance and Innovation Trust Fund’.” (U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee Print 117-28, 1/12/2022)

PAGE 548: “Transfers.—In a manner consistent with section 3302(b) of title 31, there shall be transferred from the General Fund of the Treasury to the State Election Assistance and Innovation Trust Fund under section 8011 of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act an an amount equal to the amount of the assessments collected under this section.” (U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee Print 117-28, 1/12/2022)


Democrats’ Partisan Legislation Would Still Unconstitutionally Expand The FEC’s Power To Regulate All Kinds Of Core Political Speech

LEADER McCONNELL: “The legislation contains multiple elements that would chill Americans’ exercise of free speech and let Washington bureaucrats hoard more of citizens’ private information without good cause. … The prior Administration had the IRS stop blanket collection of nonpublic information about citizens who make non-tax-deductible contributions to certain organizations. Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are not tax-deductible. The IRS doesn’t need these details just for kicks and giggles. But now, Democrats’ political takeover bills would roll back this step and open new fronts in the far-left war on privacy and free speech. S. 1 would narrow the protections of the First Amendment. It would empower the feds with new authority to track and police Americans’ speech.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/20/2021)

INSTITUTE FOR FREE SPEECH: “H.R. 1 would: Unconstitutionally regulate speech that mentions a federal candidate or elected official at any time under a vague, subjective, and dangerously broad standard that asks whether the speech ‘promotes,’ ‘attacks,’ ‘supports,’ or ‘opposes’ (‘PASO’) the candidate or official. This standard is impossible to understand and would likely regulate any mention of an elected official who hasn’t announced their retirement.” (“Analysis of H.R. 1 (Part One):’For the People Act’ Is Replete with Provisions for the Politicians,” Institute for Free Speech, 2/2021)


The Bill Still Includes Democrats’ Years-Old Partisan DISCLOSE Act, Which Would Force Organizations To Publicize Their Donors In Order To Open Them Up To Political Attacks, Something Even The ACLU Opposes

LEADER McCONNELL: “The bill also tramples on citizens’ privacy with new mandates that would intensify ‘cancel culture’ and help mobs harass people for their private views.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/04/2021)

“Some of the disclosure requirements in H.R. 1 have drawn objections from across the ideological spectrum. The American Civil Liberties Union has said that it supports disclosures tied to ‘express advocacy’ of a candidate’s election or defeat. The bill goes further, though, requiring disclosures in connection with policy debates that refer to candidates.” (“Constitutional Challenges Loom Over Proposed Voting Bill,” The New York Times, 5/05/2021)

AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU): “Unfortunately, the DISCLOSE Act of 2019 reaches beyond those bounds, and, like its predecessors, strikes the wrong balance between the public’s interest in knowing who supports or opposes candidates for office and the vital associational privacy rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The upshot of the DISCLOSE Act, and the essence of why we oppose it, is that it would chill the speech of issue advocacy groups and non-profits such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or the NRA that is essential to our public discourse and protected by the First Amendment.” (ACLU, Letter to Reps. McGovern and Cole, 3/01/2019)

  • ACLU: “[T]he bill would also require disclosure of an overbroad number of donors. Even with the $10,000 trigger, many donors to issue advocacy organizations may be surprised to find themselves held responsible for communications they may not know about, or, potentially, even support. It is unfair to hold donors responsible for every communication in which an organization engages. Moreover, it is unclear how such an overbroad requirement serves the government’s interest in providing the electorate information about who is supporting or opposing a candidate for office. The Constitution requires a healthy respect for associational privacy. In NAACP v. Alabama, the Supreme Court recognized that “[i]nviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.” For that reason alone, we should be very cautious when contemplating invasions of that privacy. Because the DISCLOSE Act would expose the private associations of an overbroad number of donors, it fails to respect this first constitutional principle.” (ACLU, Letter to Reps. McGovern and Cole, 3/01/2019)

Amicus Brief from the ACLU, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, KNIGHT FIRST AMENDMENT INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN (HRC), and the PEN AMERICAN CENTER: “The disclosure law at issue here, at least as it has been implemented by California, risks undermining the freedom to associate for expressive purposes. That freedom, in turn, is fundamental to our democracy, and has long been protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. A critical corollary of the freedom to associate is the right to maintain the confidentiality of one’s associations, absent a strong governmental interest in disclosure. If the State could categorically demand disclosure of associational information, the ability of citizens to organize to defend values out of favor with the majority would be seriously diminished. As this Court recognized in NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson,357 U.S. 449 (1958), the compelled disclosure of an expressive association’s members or supporters threatens to chill free association, because people may refrain from exercising those freedoms rather than expose themselves to government reprisal or private retaliation…. In general, the compelled disclosure of associational information to the public dramatically increases the risk of private retaliation against the members and supporters of potentially controversial groups, is more likely to chill the exercise of associational freedoms …” (“Brief Amici Curiae Of The American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc., Naacp Legal Defense And Educational Fund, Inc., Knight First Amendment Institute At Columbia University, Human Rights Campaign, And Pen American Center, Inc., In Support Of Petitioners,” Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra, Nos. 19-251 & 19-255, Supreme Court of the United States, 3/01/2021)

Last Year The Supreme Court Struck Down A California Requirement That Charitable Organizations Give Their Donor Lists To The State In Part Because ‘The Risk Of A Chilling Effect On Association Is Enough’

LEADER McCONNELL: “The [Supreme] Court also confirmed… what decades-old legal precedent already tells us: that associational privacy is a fundamental American right. As the NAACP argued forcefully more than half a century ago, the defense of First Amendment rights is especially important in places where citizens’ views cut against those of governing majorities. As such, the ruling in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta is a stern warning to those corners of the Left where naming and shaming is treated like a routine political tool. It should also serve as a cautionary tale for any elected Democrat still hoping to codify dragnet disclosure and tip the scales of our electoral system. Today, the Supreme Court discharged its duty to uphold the rights and protections underpinning our system of representative government, and our nation can be rightly proud.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 7/01/2021)

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: “The ‘government may regulate in the [First Amendment] area only with narrow specificity,’ … and compelled disclosure regimes are no exception. When it comes to ‘a person’s beliefs and associations,’ ‘[b]road and sweeping state inquiries into these protected areas . . . discourage citizens from exercising rights protected by the Constitution.’ … [W]e conclude that California’s blanket demand for [IRS Form 990] Schedule Bs [listing names and addresses of donors] is facially unconstitutional.” (Americans For Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, Attorney General Of California, Supreme Court of the United States, No. 19–251, 7/01/2021)

  • Our cases have said that disclosure requirements can chill association ‘[e]ven if there [is] no disclosure to the general public.’ … It is irrelevant, moreover, that some donors might not mind—or might even prefer—the disclosure of their identities to the State. The disclosure requirement ‘creates an unnecessary risk of chilling’ in violation of the First Amendment … The petitioners here, for example, introduced evidence that they and their supporters have been subjected to bomb threats, protests, stalking, and physical violence … Such risks are heightened in the 21st century and seem to grow with each passing year, as ‘anyone with access to a computer [can] compile a wealth of information about’ anyone else, including such sensitive details as a person’s home address or the school attended by his children…. The gravity of the privacy concerns in this context is further underscored by the filings of hundreds of organizations as amici curiae in support of the petitioners. Far from representing uniquely sensitive causes, these organizations span the ideological spectrum, and indeed the full range of human endeavors: from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund; from the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the Zionist Organization of America; from Feeding America—Eastern Wisconsin to PBS Reno. The deterrent effect feared by these organizations is real and pervasive …’” (Americans For Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, Attorney General Of California, Supreme Court of the United States, No. 19–251, 7/01/2021)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Campaigns & Elections