In the News: Campaigns & Elections: Nonprofits should be wary of new DISCLOSE Act

Nonprofits should be wary of new DISCLOSE Act

By Allen Dickerson

The Senate Rules Committee will consider a revamped version of the previously dead DISCLOSE Act on Thursday. The bill, which has 38 Democratic co-sponsors and no Republicans, would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to require additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor unions and Super PACs. A similar bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.

The problem with this legislation is that in its zeal for disclosure, it would impose enormous requirements on precisely the sort of traditional, widely favored actions nonprofit advocacy groups have been taking for decades.

Imagine, for instance, a nonprofit that wants to support legislation imposing carbon emissions targets as part of an effort to combat global warming. It chooses to run a TV ad that says something like, “Global warming is a threat to our children’s future. Call your senators, and ask them to support the Carbon Cap.” The name and contact information of the states’ U.S. senators are given.

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