Source: Agricultural Retailers Association

ARA recently joined 86 other trade associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in co-signing a letter to the House of Representatives opposing H.R. 5175, the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. This legislation would place new limits on contributions to political campaigns and make public the names of all donors and their contributions to campaigns.

The creation of the DISCLOSE Act follows the January Supreme Court decision, which held that the prohibitions in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) against corporate spending on independent expenditures or electioneering communications are unconstitutional (Citizens United v. FEC). The Supreme Court upheld statutory provisions that require political ads to contain disclaimers and be reported to the Commission. Now, corporations and unions can make communications to the general public that expressly advocate the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates.

The following statements were included in a response issued last week by U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas Donohue regarding the House Administration Committee's markup of the DISCLOSE Act: 

"Unions, businesses, and individuals all have a constitutionally protected right to free speech that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The DISCLOSE Act would undermine that protection and would allow for only the voices of politically favored groups — such as big labor unions — to be heard in national debates. It's unconstitutional. It's un-American. And it must be stopped."

The letter co-signed by ARA states that H.R. 5175 is a direct attack on the rights of the business community and the role organizations play in the national political dialogue, and urges members of both chambers to oppose the unconstitutional legislation.

H.R. 5175 may be brought to the House floor for consideration this week.

To view a press release issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, click here.

The letter to the House of Representatives opposing the bill is available here.