It’s apparent that it isn’t the DISCLOSE Act’s goal to usher in a new era of transparency. It’s apparent that its goal is to stifle free speech. If transparency were this legislation’s goal, you could write that on a sheet of paper. Instead, the DISCLOSE Act contains some rather egregious exceptions. Here’s what Politico is reporting:

The DISCLOSE — Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Election — Act will require corporations, labor unions, trade associations and advocacy groups to publicly declare their role in TV ads or mass mailings during the closing months of a political campaign, including where the money is coming from to pay for such activities. Foreign-controlled corporations and big government contractors would also be barred from paying for such political activities.

But the House bill exempts the National Rifle Association, unions and other special interests from all or part of the legislation, which Republicans charged was the product of “backroom deals” and Democrats said was necessary to get the bill passed. Floor debate over the bill was heated, with each side accusing the other of acting in bad faith and using the fight to advance its own partisan agenda.

If the legislation’s goal is transparency, why are all the progressives’ political allies exempted from the new regulations? Consider me skeptical of the legislation’s intent, especially since Sen. Schumer, the former chair of the DSCC, and Rep. van Hollen, the chair of the DCCC, wrote the bill.

Here’s the criteria Democrats used to carve out these exceptions:

They believed the bill would not pass without support from more conservative Democrats fearful of being targeted by the NRA. So they exempted the group, amending the bill to eliminate disclosure requirements for organizations that have more than 1 million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations.

Again, if transparency is important, why isn’t everyone held to the same standards?

Mike Pence rightly attacked the Democrats’ legislation as their latest attempt at censorship:

Democrats suggest that the bill deals with corporations and unions even-handedly. That is false. In the interest of full disclosure, the American people should know that this legislation is sponsored by the two Democrats who are chiefly responsible for the election of Democrats to the House and Senate this fall.

Perhaps that explains why this bill’s provisions include enormous exclusions for union expenditures but place extraordinary limits on corporations to hinder their ability to participate in the political process, despite the clear directive of the Citizens United case.

Corporations will have to make burdensome new identifying disclaimers.

Companies that are government contractors or that received TARP bailout money will be banned from political speech. And this bill will suppress speech by those who choose to speak out through associations, a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.

This legislation is nothing more than an attempt to bring confusion to the political process and to discourage millions of Americans and thousands of organizations from becoming involved in the political debate.

I agree with most of Rep. Pence’s statement with this exception: It isn’t that “this legislation is nothing more than an attempt to bring confusion to the political process”; it’s that this legislation’s intent is to silence organizations that aren’t sufficiently left-leaning.

Since the Citizens United v. FEC ruling was announced, Democrats haven’t hidden that they intend to pass legislation that would essentially gut the ruling:

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, said he would hold hearings to explore ways to limit corporate spending on elections.

Sen. Schumer didn’t stop there, adding this statement:

“The bottom line is this: The Supreme Court has just pre-determined the winners of next November’s elections,” Schumer said. “It won’t be Republicans, it won’t be Democrats, it will be corporate America.”

Sen. Schumer didn’t attempt to hide his intent. He intended to write legislation that would limit corporate America’s impact on elections. Based on Politico’s reporting, it’s apparent that Sen. Schumer intended the legislation to still allow progressive-leaning organizations maximum impact on elections.

It’s really nothing more complicated than that.

Sen. Schumer, Rep. van Hollen and other like-minded extremists should be flushed from the House and Senate this year for cherrypicking which Supreme Court rulings and which parts of the Constitution they’ll obey. Either laws apply to everyone or they shouldn’t exist. If politicians like Mssrs. Schumer or van Hallen don’t obey every article and amendment in the Constitution, they will have violated their oath of office.

I pity the Democrats this fall. We’ve seen how independents have abandoned them by the results in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. We’ve seen the polls showing conservatives winning independents by a 2:1 margin. If Mssrs. Obama, Schumer and van Hollen continue with their attempt to villify corporations while protecting the Democrats’ special interest groups, the American people will make them pay this November.

Based on Speaker Pelosi’s statement, Democrats don’t understand that the Constitution trumps legislation. Either that or they’re willing to ignore the Constitution:

And Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would work with administration to get legislation passed.

“We will review the decision, work with the Obama Administration, and explore legislative options available to mitigate the impact of this disappointing decision,” she said in a statement.

Talk about hubris. The first thing that Democrats considered after the Supreme Court handed down a ruling on the First Amendment was to craft legislation that would gut their ruling. The Democrats’ disrespect for rule of law is breathtaking. (Follow this link to read Victor Davis Hanson’s column for more on that.)

This Democratic Congress and this Democratic administration has stopped pretending that they’re for people who work hard and play by the rules. It’s stunningly apparent that they don’t care about people if they don’t enthusiastically support this Democratic administration and this Democratic Congress.

That’s why this bill is going nowhere. That’s why the American people will strip Democrats of their gavels.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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