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September 23, 2010 Print

Free-Speech Killing DISCLOSE Act Narrowly Fails (Again) to Pass Senate

by Catherine Snow

The DISCLOSE Act failed on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate today. In need of 60 votes to move forward, the final tally was 59-39.

The Act – formally titled the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act –would chill the free-speech of groups and companies that want to speak out during campaign season.

This was the second time Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., attempted to pass the bill, in an attempt to galvanize the liberal voter base.

Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, said the bill was the Democrats attempt to silence and limit criticism to their agenda.

“All the Republicans in the Senate recognize that this was a bill that directly targeted the political speech of groups that the Democratic majority finds unwelcome,” Parnell said. “We obviously had a big victory for the First Amendment today, but I also expect that there will be some version of the DISCLOSE Act coming down the pike, either soon or later.”

Pete Sepp, executive vice president with the National Taxpayers Union, said groups often pronounce victory after a failed Senate vote; however, the war is not over.

“Constant vigilance will be necessary on bills like the DISCLOSE Act,” he said, “Because in the Senate, the sands of politics shift all the time, and taxpayers might be the ones trapped in that quicksand.”


Sept. 23 Senate roll call votes on DISCLOSE Act.

July 27 Senate roll call votes on DISCLOSE Act.

Representative roll call vote the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175).

Read the coalition letter, co-signed by CitizenLink, urging senators to vote against the DISCLOSE Act.

Read Obama’s first State of the Union speech.