Sen. Pat Roberts: DISCLOSE Act is Attempt to Suppress Speech

Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) / AP


Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) said during a Wednesday hearing on the DISCLOSE Act that the legislation is an attempt to suppress speech "under the guise of disclosure."

Roberts, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, said that the DISCLOSE Act would "suppress speech by imposing costly and burdensome regulations on its exercise."

Roberts argued that it is nothing new for the majority in the Senate to attempt to restrict speech of its opposition.

"The bill before the committee today has been introduced in one form or another in each of the last three Congresses," said Roberts. "While other efforts to achieve this goal have been struck down as unconstitutional by the courts, the majority has attempted to use disclosure as a means to erect a new regulatory scheme to silence their opponents."

"That is what happens once the Congress starts imposing speech restrictions–the restrictions get applied to whoever doesn’t have enough votes in Congress to prevent them."

Roberts also argued that Congress should learn lessons from prior mistakes, such as the McCain-Feingold Act.

"If the IRS targeting scandal has taught us anything, it should be that giving federal bureaucrats control over the political activity of American citizens is a recipe for disaster," said Roberts. "It is time to admit the failure of the regulatory model and reverse the mistake we made when we passed McCain-Feingold (and the Federal Election Campaign Act before it)."

"If we really want disclosure, we should be advancing proposals that will redirect resources to the candidates and parties. They are fully accountable and fully disclose everything they spend and receive."

"Unfortunately, the DISCLOSE Act has another goal – one no American who supports the Constitution should support."

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