Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Right 2 Recall NJ Questions the Disclosure Act

People may be cheering that Harry Reid did not have enough votes for cloture, but we caution everyone that only means that the Bill isn't fillibuster-proof. This may not be the last we see of this atrocity. Therefore, I have decided to publish the Press Release I had written regarding this issue, as I believe it is still relevant. Be sure to read the very last sentence to understand why.

JULY 27,2010, BRANCHVILLE, NJ – Right 2 Recall NJ (formerly Recall NJ), an organization formed to facilitate the recall of Senator Robert Menendez has many questions about the statements Senator Menendez makes in his response to his constituents regarding S.3295, known as The DISCLOSE Act. Spokesman for Right 2 Recall NJ, RoseAnn Salanitri, would like Senator Menendez to explain how indemnifying one segment of the population against stifling campaign finance regulations while encumbering others promotes democracy. She asked, “Doesn’t free speech apply to all citizens- whether they are part of small corporations or large ones?
In his form letter response regarding DISCLOSE, Menendez states: “It would require corporations, unions, and other organizations that make political expenditures to disclose their donors and stand by their ads.” However, Democratic Rep. Chris VanHollen, (who first introduced the Bill along with others, including Senator Menendez), defined who would be regulated this way, “…groups that pop up overnight with shadowy names…and don’t have to disclose who their donors are. We are less worried about groups with dues-paying members.”
Since the Bill exempts reporting donations of $600 or less to the Federal Election Commission, Right 2 Recall NJ would like Senator Menendez to explain if this means that union dues under $600 are exempt – are these the “dues-paying members” that Rep. VanHollen is referring to or is there another type of “dues-paying members”?
Salanitri has other questions regarding Section 324 (a-2) which regulates: “any communication that republishes, disseminates, or distributes, in whole or in part, any broadcast or any written, graphic, or other form of campaign material prepared by a candidate, an authorized committee of a candidate, or their agents.” She would like the Senator to explain if this applies to censoring internet communications and bloggers, who frequently redistribute information, and excludes traditional media sources (such as newspapers and television stations) - and more specifically, how is democracy promoted by allowing the Federal Elections Commission to regulate free speech and the sharing of information?”
Salanitri also thought it was a bit odd that the introductory language of the Bill states that it would “prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections,” since that is already the case. Therefore, she would like Senator Menendez to explain why the bill reasserts a prohibition already in existence in the Federal Election Laws if those introducing the Bill had objectives other than garnering support from the public for a protection already in existence?
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, whereby the Supreme Court protected Citizens United’s first amendment right to exercise political speech, Salanitri would also like to know if Senator Menendez agrees with the Court, and if he does, why he is supporting this Bill. If not, she would like him to logically explain to his constituents why he believes the Supreme Court erred in its decision.
On a more personal level, Salanitri would also like Senator Menendez to explain publicly and for the record how the Bill would impact a grassroots campaign such as the one launched to recall the Senator. Would Right 2 Recall NJ be scrutinized, regulated, and audited until it can no longer exist, or would their First Amendment Rights be protected, as designed in the Constitution?

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