Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1710803
 


 



The DISCLOSE Act, Deliberation, and the First Amendment


John Samples


Cato Institute

July 25, 2010


Abstract:     
The United States Supreme Court decided in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that Congress may not prohibit spending on political speech by corporations. President Obama and several members of Congress have sharply criticized Citizens United, and Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen have proposed the DISCLOSE Act in response to the ruling. DISCLOSE mandates disclosure of corporate sources of independent spending on speech, putatively in the interest of shareholders and voters. However, it is unlikely that either shareholders or voters would be made better off by this legislation. Shareholders could demand and receive such disclosure without government mandates, given the efficiency of capital markets. The benefits of such disclosure for voters are likely less than assumed, while the costs are paid in chilled speech and in less rational public deliberation. DISCLOSE also prohibits speech by government contractors, TARP recipients, and companies managed by foreign nationals. The case for prohibiting speech by each of these groups seems flawed. In general, DISCLOSE exploits loopholes in Citizens United limits on government control of speech to contravene the spirit of that decision and the letter of the First Amendment.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

working papers series





Download This Paper

Date posted: November 19, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Samples, John, The DISCLOSE Act, Deliberation, and the First Amendment (July 25, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1710803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1710803

Contact Information

John Samples (Contact Author)
Cato Institute ( email )
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States
2027895248 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.cato.org/people/john-samples
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 357
Downloads: 44

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.281 seconds