Indecent Disclosure…

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At least Hank Johnson, the man who undoubtedly makes Georgia’s Fourth Congressional district proud, managed to keep pronouncements on the impending nautical doom faced by the residents of Guam out of his speech on the House floor last Thursday afternoon.

Johnson, speaking in defense of the DISCLOSE Act now headed for the Senate after passing the House, did manage to remind everyone Outside the Asylum why the average American holds Congress in only slightly lower esteem than dog fighting entrepreneurs. When Hank exalted the greatness of the abominable—and superbly monikered—Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On who’s Spending in Elections, not only did he speak out against the 1st Amendment, he did so by noting BP (which bestowed greater financial largesse on Barack Obama than anyone else in the last two decades) and Goldman Sachs (which has shoveled twice the ducats to dems, and practically has a branch office in the OEOB, if not the White House.)

To be fair to our pal Hank, he is nowhere near as desperate for a Thorazine prescription as his predecessor, Cynthia McKinney. But when a Democrat Congressman rises in support of a bill which abrogates part of the Bill of Rights, and cites his OWN PARTY’S heavyweight swag-haulers as his inspiration, I’m allowed to roll my eyes a bit.

Had his staffers been on—or even near—the ball, they might have stopped him from serving up two of the DNC’s sugar daddies. They also might have noticed who’s exempt from the tenets of the bill, and what it really means.

Proponents of the DISCLOSE ACT claim that it introduces a new measure of decency to electoral politics. What it actually does, by way of lowering the reporting requirements for certain individual donors, is toe the liberal line to a “T.” It fits all the clichéd criteria. It “levels the playing field.” It brings “fairness” back to the table. It helps Democrats spout talking points: “blah blah… little guy… blah blah.”

But America is the land of opportunity, not the land of fairness. In this boy’s America, we have the right to TRY for the brass ring, not be handed the hardware free of charge. If life in the land of the free was all about fairness with a capital “F,” either you’d be driving a V-12 Aston Martin—or Warren Buffett would be tooling around Omaha in a ’98 Corolla. OR—you’d both be carpooling in a ’64 Trabant.

Big-time political donors already have to show their ID at the electoral door. What the DISCLOSE ACT commands is the disclosure by corporations, 527’s and non-profits of each individual donor within their folds who donate more than $600 to the cause. Under DISCLOSE—not only does BP or Goldman Sachs have to pony up their CEO’s name on the donor rolls, but they have to give up the fifth floor janitor.

That’s a violation of the 1st Amendment (not to mention the 5th, if we donate to Hank Johnson.) We have a right to speak our minds in this country. We should have a right to back up that speech with our dollars, if we choose; despite the best efforts of McCain/Feingold, DISCLOSE and the rest of the ever-increasing thought police arsenal. Nowhere is it written that we must open ourselves up to retribution.

DISCLOSE actually means activists—and worse—can hassle Buffett if they don’t like his candidate choices. Buffett can staff out the ugly phone calls, and the “activists” can’t breach his security perimeter. Your spinster aunt with the bad hip ALWAYS answers the phone, and her security perimeter is Tinkerbell, the 6-pound Pomeranian.

Left-wingnuts will point to the inclusion of labor unions amidst the throng of political players covered by the tenets of DISCLOSE. But the average labor union dues in the United States are $425—well under the DISCLOSE disclosure floor, meaning Big Labor catches a Big Break.

The Libs will also note the controversial exemption granted to the National Rifle Association (NRA). However, the Sierra Club and the AARP are among a host of left-leaning gangs who get to step through loopholes. Add Big Labor’s goons to the mix, and while the right gets Hector, the left gets the whole Greek army.

The truth is, if your spinster aunt wants to donate her life savings to Zippy the Pinhead, or even Hank Johnson, that’s her money to spend; her speech to make.

Yours as well—for now.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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