Generally speaking and on a wide array of pressing issues, Congressman Darrell Issa (R – California…
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Potential Appointment of Rep. Darrell Issa to IP Subcommittee Leadership Raises Concern

Generally speaking and on a wide array of pressing issues, Congressman Darrell Issa (R – California) has proven a reliable leader who maintains solid support among conservatives and libertarians.

The prospect of Rep. Issa leading the House Judiciary Committee’s Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee, however, has sparked significant opposition and pushback from intellectual property (IP) proponents.  And for sound reasons.

For example, in urging new House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R – Ohio) not to select Rep. Issa for the role, IPWatchdog’s Paul Morinville lists a litany of concerns based upon Issa’s record:

Issa is the wrong person for the job and has demonstrated that since he joined Congress.  He has sponsored and cosponsored…[more]

January 23, 2023 • 10:13 AM

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CFIF Urges U.S. Senate to Reject DISCLOSE Act Print
By CFIF Staff
Tuesday, September 20 2022

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Republican Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510   

Dear Leader McConnell:  

On behalf of the Center for Individual Freedom (hereinafter “CFIF”) and over 300,000 supporters and activists across the nation, I write in strongest opposition to the so-called “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act of 2022” (DISCLOSE Act).  The proposed legislation would do nothing to improve our electoral process, but would instead violate Americans’ First Amendment freedoms of speech, association and to petition government for redress of grievances.  

Indeed, that appears to be the very point of the DISCLOSE Act:  to publicly expose American citizens and nonprofit organizations for their political beliefs and the causes they support by requiring them to report private contributions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or other bureaucracies, thereby chilling our First Amendment freedoms as a society.

As demonstrated by a recent coalition letter, this is a matter on which conservative and libertarian organizations and their millions of supporters across the nation stand united in opposition.  

Unfortunately, this sort of attempt to expose and persecute Americans for their political beliefs and private contributions possesses a long and sordid history.  In 1958, a unanimous U.S.  Supreme Court condemned the practice in a decision involving segregationist state government efforts to access identifying information on supporters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in NAACP v. Alabama.  The Court rightfully recognized that forcing the NAACP to surrender its membership rolls to antagonistic government officials or vindictive members of the general public would threaten members' safety and the organization's very existence: 

This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations.  Compelled disclosure of membership in an organization engaged in advocacy of particular beliefs is of the same order.  Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.  

More recently, rogue IRS officials like Lois Lerner have targeted organizations and donors whose viewpoints they find objectionable.  Similarly, state attorneys general have sought access to donor and membership information, so that they could harass and silence groups and their supporters.  

Moreover, the potential threat isn't limited to malfeasant government officials, whether at the federal, state or local levels.  As just one recent example, this month alone the IRS admitted that it exposed and posted confidential information involving approximately 120,000 taxpayers.  Across the nation, people have been terminated from employment, stalked at their homes and had their workplaces picketed merely because they supported causes that someone out there detested. 

That sort of harassment is only possible when government forcibly collects and retains information identifying people for the beliefs they support.  

The DISCLOSE Act would do exactly that.  It won’t bring more honest, more informed, more secure or more robust elections or democratic debate.  It will merely sacrifice the privacy of American citizens, and our First Amendment rights will be weakened through intimidation and overregulation.  We therefore urge you in the strongest possible terms to oppose this unconstitutional and dangerous legislation.  

Thank you very much for your attention to this important matter, and please contact me at your convenience with any questions or comments.  

Sincerely,
/s/
Timothy Lee
Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs  

cc: United States Senators

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