American Civil Liberties Union is urging the Senate to vote down the DISCLOSE
Act, which imposes new reporting requirements on funding of election ads,
including publicizing donor lists.
ACLU supports the disclosure of large contributions to candidates as long as it
does not have a chilling effect on political participation, but the DISCLOSE
Act would inflict unnecessary damage to free speech rights and does not include
the proper safeguards to protect Americans' privacy," said Michael
Macleod-Ball, ACLU chief legislative and policy counsel, in a statement.
"The bill would severely impact donor anonymity, especially those donors
who give to smaller and more controversial organizations."
ACLU is concerned by a carve-out in the bill for large advocacy
organizations--over 500,000 members with revenues from corporations and unions
of less than 15%. "By exempting larger organizations that might tend to be
more mainstream from certain disclosure requirements," says ACLU,
"the bill inequitably suppresses only the speech of smaller organizations
that might be more controversial, and compromises the anonymity of small
House passed its version of the bill last month.