A Skeptical Look at Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure

Capitol Hill Briefing
March 9, 2007 12:00PM
B-340 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring: Marvin Johnson, Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union; Mark Fitzgibbons, President, Corporate and Legal Affairs, AmericanTarget Advertising, Inc.; Stephen Hoersting, Executive Director, Center for Competitive Politics; and John Samples, Director, Center for Representative Government Cato Institute.
The House of Representatives will soon consider proposed ethics regulation that requires disclosure of the people and funding involved in grassroots lobbying efforts. “Reform” organizations are pushing such mandatory disclosure by claiming that “this lobbying disclosure reform would not in any way restrict” political speech. That is not so. For over 60 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that stripping citizens of their rights to speak anonymously to each other about issues chills their rights of speech and association, and the Court has upheld such compelled disclosure only in narrow circumstances. Please join us for a discussion of the downside of this new effort to regulate political speech.