Stealth Legislation Attacks Free Speech in Waning Days of Legislature

SB 15 is innocuously titled “Campaign Finance Requirements.” And, it passed the Senate with NO opposition. Does that means it’s a good bill? Absolutely not.

According to the Center for Competitive Politics, SB 15 “proposes to create broad and burdensome disclosure requirements for individuals and organizations that make communications to the public that merely mention the name of a candidate in a specified time period before a primary or general election.”

The case against SB 15 goes on, saying:

The disclosure information required by S.B. 15 could also result in the harassment of individuals by their political opponents, and the proposed reporting thresholds for organizations speaking before the public on an issue could result in “junk disclosure” by associating a donor with a communication they have no knowledge of or may not even support.

In short, the language in S.B. 15 is so broadly defined that in order to comply with the bill’s far-reaching reporting requirements, it’s likely that many groups will instead opt not to speak. “This legislation proposes extensive and burdensome reporting and disclosure requirements that could chill the speech of many organizations,” said Nese. “If this bill is signed into law, a nonprofit organization in New Mexico that publishes a simple scorecard rating of legislator votes on its website could be forced to fill out complex paperwork with the state and reveal many of its donors.”

UPDATE: This bill will be heard on the floor of the House of Representatives and Senate prior to the conclusion of the 2013 session. Contact your legislators today!

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2 Replies to “Stealth Legislation Attacks Free Speech in Waning Days of Legislature”

  1. Would you be willing to go into some more detail about this and what it means? Some more possible scenarios… I’d really appreciate it. Where, also, did the legislation originate and why… Thank you.

    1. I don’t have all of the information, but 501c3 (charities) and 501c4 (grassroots political) organizations are not required to disclose the names of their donors. This goes back to a Supreme Court decision in the 1950s when the State of Alabama wanted to find out who was donating to the NAACP. The Court said that such donations could be made anonymously.

      The left today has decided that such privacy is bad because it is used by their political opponents (the Koch Brothers for example). They figure that if they can get those donor lists disclosed, they can intimidate conservatives into submission (ie, not donating to pro-business, limited government causes). If you don’t think this is possible, see this story of what happened to those who publicly opposed Prop. 8 in California.

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