While I have focused on the outrageous union exemption in SB 346, it seems other more-learned folks are suggesting the proposed Texas “disclosure” has even more troubling implications.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, editors noted that SB 346 reporting requirements for social welfare and non-profit groups are very similar to several federal proposals that have been vehemently opposed by Republicans in Congress. WSJ further indicates that SB 346 might be more about incumbent protection than transparency, and goes so far as to label Representative Charlie Geren’s comments as straight from “the Lee Kuan Yew school of free political speech.” Ouch. WSJ is urging Governor Perry to veto SB346.
Eric Erickson at Red State is also supporting a Perry veto. Yesterday he summoned up the force to cry out, “Help me, Obi Wan Perry.” Erickson expresses shock that some Texas Republicans would jump on a misguided effort to ‘get’ Michael Quinn Sullivan at the same time that the country is reeling over the recent IRS scandals. With the party in power working to intimidate and stifle voices of opposition at the national level, it is hard to imagine Texans codifying such techniques.
Neither article mentions the union exemption, but it is hardly necessary at this point. It’s no secret that threatened incumbent ‘Republicans’ like Ken Seliger and Charlie Geren are so determined to silence Michael Quinn Sullivan that they are willing to strike a Faustian bargain with Democrats by exempting unions from the bill.
Governor Perry should veto this bill; he has until Saturday to do so.
Update: It seems that Representative Charlie Geren successfully added the SB 346 language as amendments to SB 219, the "Ethics" reform bill. Even the Texas Public Policy Foundation is calling for Governor Perry to veto both bills.
- America has a long tradition of anonymous political speech with the Federalist Papers being among the most prominent.
- Without anonymity of donors, and anonymity of members, Americans banding together for a cause are susceptible to harassment, intimidation, or worse.
- What is billed as transparency in SB 346 and SB 219 is instead an effort to silence Texans who dare speak up to their elected officials.
- The U.S. Supreme Court has frequently observed – most notably in NAACP v. Alabama – that forcing organizations to identify their donors and members violates their constitutional rights.
- We are seeing the effects of similar IRS policy coming out of Washington D.C., so we cannot allow the Texas government to tread the same path.
- Once the precedent is established that a 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) must disclose its members and supporters, it will only be a matter of time before other groups who displease the government are compelled to do the same.