Archive for First Amendment

Free speech at stake in NAF lawsuit against CMP as judge is set to issue opinion

Posted in Aborted Babies for Electricity, Aborted Baby Body Parts, Censorship, Center for Medical Progress, free speech, National Abortion Federation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2015 by saynsumthn

A federal judge has ruled that secret recordings from a pro-life group who infiltrated a National Abortion Federation meeting to expose a grisly baby parts harvesting operation does not show criminal activity, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Deb Van Derhei NAF Harvesting babies

In July, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) sued the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) accusing CMP of using fake names, infiltration, and hidden cameras to obtain the damning evidence. San Francisco Judge William Orrick granted NAF a temporary restraining order to prevent the release of the tapes. But, while the effort to suppress the videos were making their way through the courts,GotNews.com published them, claiming they were leaked to them by a hacker.

In their lawsuit, NAF claimed that CMP infiltrators “snuck into” their allegedly secure and supposedly private meetings to obtain video evidence that their members were buying fetal tissue. In response to the lawsuit, CMP claimed that their investigators conducted their investigation legally, and that NAF welcomed lead investigator David Daleiden and the other investigators as dealers in fetal tissue believing that Daleiden’s test company, BioMax, would pay abortion providers for fetal specimens. “NAF even provided Daleiden unsolicited information about the meeting’s agenda and location,” attorney’s for CMP stated.

But, according to the AP report, Judge Orrick does not agree. From the story:

Recordings secretly made by an anti-abortion group at meetings of abortion providers do not show criminal activity and could put the providers at risk, a federal judge said Friday, citing the recent shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick made the comments during a hearing over the National Abortion Federation’s request for a preliminary injunction that would continue to block the release of the recordings. Orrick did not immediately issue a ruling. He previously issued a temporary restraining order blocking the recordings pending the outcome of the preliminary injunction hearing.

Pro-lifers who have viewed the leaked tapes say that the NAF lawsuit is equivalent to censorship because NAF does not want the public to know the truth about abortion. The videos show plenty of evidence that NAF members were not only involved in harvesting fetal tissue but were holding presentations about the process during their meetings. A sampling of a few of the recordings show that NAF members:

    Conference attendees applauding horrific late-term abortion procedure
    NAF held presentations on harvesting aborted baby parts
    NAF members and a majority of the women they service know they are killing a baby
    Abortion clinics dispose of preborn children in garbage disposals
    Burning aborted babies for energy fuel may really be happening
    A cold and callous disregard for the dead
    A Planned Parenthood abortionist and NAF attendee admitted being involved in fetal tissue research with, “independent / individual researchers”

Continuing with the AP report:

Orrick made a statement that doctors who appeared in CMP’s videos have received death threats. He also cited suspected arson at abortion clinics and the November shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic that left three people dead and nine wounded.

Catherine Short, an attorney for the Center for Medical Progress, said there was no evidence the Colorado shooter was motivated by the group’s videos or that doctors have been directly threatened. The release of the recordings is vital to furthering public discussion about topics such as whether the country’s abortion laws are too loosely written, she said. The center says in court documents its work is the equivalent of investigative journalism and protected by the First Amendment.

And, Short is correct, investigative journalism is not only protected by the First Amendment but the tactics used by CMP have been used by journalists in all sorts of investigations as Live Action News has detailed here. In fact, free speech issues in this case are so great that the U.S. Reporters’ Committee filed a ‘friend of the Court’ submission before the district court hearing NAF’s case, protesting that ‘any prior restraint on speech that is issued by a court has the potential to significantly affect the First Amendment rights of the news media and the public at large.’

we are compelled to write at this early juncture because any prior restraint on speech that is issued by a court has the potential to significantly affect the First Amendment rights of the news media and the public at large. The ramifications of having such a restraint in place go well beyond the unique facts of this dispute, they wrote.

Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel which presented arguments against NAF in the case agreed accusing NAF of working with Planned Parenthood to suppress Daleiden’s First Amendment rights.

“Equally as any other investigative journalist working for ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, or your local print or electronic media outlet may regularly resort to undercover journalism tactics to ferret out hidden crime, so too David Daleiden should have the right to penetrate the criminal underworld of America’s abortion providers and report all the evidence he has uncovered of criminal wrongdoing to law enforcement and to members of the public.”

The brief that Thomas More Society and co-counsel have filed on behalf of Daleiden in opposition to NAF’s preliminary injunction includes:

    Information about the precedent set by the recent Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Otter case, where the 9th Circuit ruled definitively that investigative journalism is not “fraud” and fully protected by the First Amendment.

    Admissions from NAF and Planned Parenthood abortion providers about their criminal participation in trafficking in aborted baby body parts documented at NAF meetings, redacted from the public filing and prevented from release by court order.

    The blatantly unconstitutional character of prior restraints on speech.

If NAF wins this case, criminals will rejoice and journalists will weep,” Brejcha said.

Both sides are watching for the decision to be released.

Sen. Ted Cruz defending Hobby Lobby outside SCOTUS “People of Faith do not get exemption”

Posted in ObamaCare, Religious Freedom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2014 by saynsumthn

Senator Ted Cruz “People of faith do not get an exemption.”

Cruz is outside SCOTUS defends religious freedom for Hobby Lobby ad all of us !

Is Big Brother spying on the Occupy Movement?

Posted in Big Brother, Occupy Wall Street with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by saynsumthn

Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media. We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.

According to Business Insider: While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.

If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April. But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.

The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

Interest in the Occupy protesters was not limited to DHS and local law enforcement authorities. The most recently released correspondence contains Occupy-related missives between the DHS and agencies at all levels of government, including the Mayor of Portland, regional NOC “fusion centers,” the General Services Administration (GSA), the Pentagon’s USNORTHCOM (Northern Command), and the White House. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, contends that the variety and reach of the organizations involved point to the existence of a larger, more pervasive domestic surveillance network than previously suspected.

These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people. These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.

As alarmist as Verheyden-Hilliard’s charge may sound, especially given the limited, bowdlerized nature of the source material, the texts made available contain disturbing evidence of insistent federal surveillance. In particular, the role of the “Fusion Centers,” a series of 72 federally-funded information hubs run by the NOC, raises questions about the government’s expansive definition of “Homeland Security.”

Created in the wake of 9/11, the Fusion Centers were founded to expedite the sharing of information among state and local law enforcement and the federal government, to monitor localized terrorist threats, and to sidestep the regulations and legislation preventing the CIA and the military from carrying out domestic surveillance (namely, the CIA ban on domestic spying and the Posse Comitatus Act).

Is nonviolent, albeit obstructive, citizen dissent truly an issue of national security? The DHS, for its part, is aware of the contentiousness of civilian monitoring. That’s why, in a White House-approved statement to CBS News included in the dossier, DHS Press Secretary Matthew Chandler asserts that

Any decisions on how to handle specifics (sic) situations are dealt with by local authorities in that location. . . DHS is not actively coordinating with local law enforcement agencies and/or city governments concerning the evictions of Occupy encampments writ large.

However, as a reading of the documents unmistakably demonstrates, this expedient PR nugget is far from the truth. In example after example, from its seeking of “public health and safety” grounds from the City of Portland for Occupy’s ejection from Terry Schrunk Plaza, to its facilitation of information sharing between the police departments of Chicago and Boston (following a 1500-person Occupy protest in Chicago), the DHS’s active ”coordinating” with local authorities is readily apparent. Other communiqués are even more explicit in revealing a national focus, such as the DHS’s preemptive coordination with the Pentagon about a port closure in Oakland, and its collection of identity and contact information of Occupy protesters arrested at a Bank of America in Dallas.

Those Pesky Amendments

The right to public assembly is a central component of the First Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect Americans from warrantless searches—with the definition of “search” expanded in 1967 to include electronic surveillance, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Katz v. United States. Assuming the Occupy protesters refrain from violence—and the vast majority do, in accord with a stated tenet of the Occupy movement—the movement’s existence is constitutionally protected, or should be.

The DHS’s monitoring, documenting, and undermining of protesters may in fact violate the First Amendment. In a recent piece for Dissent Magazine, sociologist James B. Rule explains the fundamental importance of a movement like Occupy in the American political landscape.

This surveillance campaign against Occupy is bad news for American democracy. Occupy represents an authentic, utterly home-grown, grassroots movement. Taken as a whole, it is neither terrorist nor conspiratorial. Indeed, it is hard to think of another movement so cumbersomely public in its deliberations and processes. Occupy is noisy, disorderly, insubordinate, and often inconvenient for all concerned—statements that could equally well apply to democracy in general. But it should never be targeted as a threat to the well-being of the country—quite the contrary.

Accordingly, Rule calls for the White House to rein in the ever-expanding surveillance activity of the DHS—which he contends is motivated by its own funding interests, and which prioritizes security at the expense of civil liberties.

The resource-rich Department of Homeland Security and its allies no doubt see in the rise of the movement another opportunity to justify their own claims for public legitimacy. We can be sure that many in these agencies view any noisy dissent as tantamount to a threat to national security.

Nobody who cares about democracy wants to live in a world where simply engaging in vociferous protest qualifies any citizen to have his or her identity and life details archived by state security agencies. Specific, overt threats of civil disobedience or other law-breaking should be dealt with on a piecemeal basis—not by attempting to monitor everyone who might be moved to such actions, all the time. Meanwhile, the White House should issue clear directives that identification and tracking of lawful protesters will play no further role in any government response to this populist moment.

Optimistic as it may be, Rule’s appeal to the White House is a problematic one, given the ubiquitous influence of the DHS revealed by these documents. If the White House-approved press release is any indication, the Oval Office, while not directly authorizing the DHS’s initiatives, is certainly turning a blind eye to the Department’s focus on the Occupy movement as a potential terrorist threat. Federal surveillance of citizens in the Bush years, most visible in NSA warrantless wiretapping controversy, has apparently not ceased with Obama’s inauguration.

Which raises the question: Does Obama, as he claims, “stand with the 99 percent,” or with those who cannot stand them?

Read more: http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/05/21/i-spy-an-occupy-obamas-dhs-surveils-legit-protesters/#ixzz1vXowBuZf

Free Speech at Risk: Judge rules against blogger because she was “not a journalist”

Posted in free speech with tags , , , , , , on December 8, 2011 by saynsumthn

Federal judge: Montana blogger is not journalist
By JEFF BARNARD
Associated Press

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

“My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information.”

The judge ruled that Cox was not protected by Oregon’s shield law from having to produce sources, saying even though Cox defines herself as media, she was not affiliated with any mainstream outlet. He added that the shield law does not apply to civil actions for defamation.

Hernandez said Cox was not a journalist because she offered no professional qualifications as a journalist or legitimate news outlet. She had no journalism education, credentials or affiliation with a recognized news outlet, proof of adhering to journalistic standards such as editing or checking her facts, evidence she produced an independent product or evidence she ever tried to get both sides of the story.

Cox said she considered herself a journalist, producing more than 400 blogs over the past five years, with a proprietary technique to get her postings on the top of search engines where they get the most notice.

“What could be more mainstream than the Internet and the top of the search engine?” she said.

Read Rest here

Vindicated- charges dropped against pro-lifer who prayed at eugenic founded Planned Parenthood

Posted in Abortion, Church, free speech, Planned Parenthood, Pro-Life with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2010 by saynsumthn

CHICAGO, Aug. 3 /Christian Newswire/ — This afternoon, in a wake of national attention to the case, the Thomas More Society secured a dismissal of all charges against the first arrestee under the city’s “bubble zone” ordinance, which prevents certain types of picketing activity outside local abortion clinics. Joseph Holland, a Northwestern University graduate student, was arrested outside Planned Parenthood’s Near North Side facility on July 3 after the facility’s staff called the police and claimed he violated the ordinance by praying on the public sidewalk.

“We are pleased that the City of Chicago has dismissed these false and baseless charges against Joe Holland,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society executive director and legal counsel. “The First Amendment protects prayer on a public sidewalk in Chicago the same as in any other city in the country. We hope that the city will cease the suppression of pro-life speech under the ‘bubble zone’ ordinance and dismiss the lone remaining case, brought against David Avignone, who was arrested a few days after Joe.”

The “bubble zone” ordinance prohibits approaching within eight feet of a person without consent “for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling.” Witnesses and a video of the incident showed Holland standing stationary and praying, but not leafleting, picketing or sidewalk counseling.

Thomas More Society attorneys are also representing David Avignone, the second arrestee under the “bubble zone” ordinance, who was arrested the same week as Holland. Avignone’s first court appearance is August 30.

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit http://www.thomasmoresociety.org.

Learn more about the eugenic and racist history of Planned Parenthood here

House Passes DISCLOSE Act: Pro-Life/Grassroots Muzzle Bill Goes to Senate

Posted in free speech, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by saynsumthn

Critics on both left and right say act will disable grassroots political voices, including Tea Party movement

By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – With a political audacity that has become characteristic since the caustic health care debates, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve a campaign finance disclosure bill that critics on both the left and the right say will disable grassroots political voices – including the nascent “Tea Party” movement that has been looking to sweep away liberal incumbents in November.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the House voted 219-206 to approve H.R. 5175, the “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act,” which the National Right to Life Committee, other pro-life, pro-family groups, and even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have condemned as a threat to free speech and free participation in the political process. (See how your representative voted here.)

The Act would force grassroots organizations to release the names of donors and members into a publicly searchable database maintained by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Opponents of the bill say it would frustrate the ability of grassroots entities to communicate effectively with the public about public policy.
“This is a blatant attack on our organizations, members, and donors,” said Douglas Johnson, NRLC’s Legislative Director. “National Right to Life will do everything possible to keep this bill from coming out of the Senate.”

Johnson said that stopping the Senate from approving its version (S 3295) of the DISCLOSE Act is “a jump ball.”

“I think we have to take it very seriously. There are already 50 cosponsors of the bill in the Senate. But as you know, the Senate has different rules, and we will certainly do our best to persuade any Senator who will listen that this bill is unconstitutional, unprincipled, and nakedly partisan.”

Should the Senate approve the DISCLOSE Act, and should it be signed into law by President Barack Obama, the act would take effect in 30 days, even if the Federal Elections Commission has not yet crafted new guidelines – just in time for the mid-term elections in November.

During the one-hour debate on the bill, Rep. Dan Lungren expressed outrage that unlike every other campaign finance bill passed by the House, this bill has no provision for expedited judicial review. He said the lack of such a provision makes it clear the DISCLOSE Act is meant to influence the outcome of the 2010 midterm elections.
He also expressed frustration that so little time was given the House to debate a matter impacting Americans’ First Amendment rights.

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“We have spent 40 hours in this Congress naming post offices. Can’t we spend a little time protecting the Constitution of the United States?” Lungren exclaimed.
“We’re talking about political speech: the essence of the First Amendment.”

Under the bill, all groups subject to the law’s requirements – including most 501(c)4, 501(c)5, 501(c)6, and 527 groups – would have to list all donors of $600 or more with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Groups must also post a hyperlink on their website to the FEC, where a list of the names of their donors can be accessed.
But the DISCLOSE Act exempts large 501(c)4 groups – like the 4 million strong NRA and 750,000 member Sierra Club – from having to report their donors if they have at least 500,000 members, over 10 years of existence, chapters in all 50 states, and receive no more than 15% of total contributions from corporations.

Unions also have significant exemptions. Most union dues are under $600 dollars, and so do not have to be reported. Union to union money transfers also do not have to be disclosed.

In a letter to Congress, the ACLU noted the irony that a bill ostensibly dedicated to uprooting corruption in the political process would exempt entrenched “mainstream” political interests from its reporting requirements, while “smaller organizations and those just starting out would have to disclose their donors in order to engage in political speech.”

“Those groups not challenging the status quo would be protected; those challenging the status quo would be suppressed,” they concluded.

House members had virtually no time to read the final version of the bill approved yesterday behind closed doors by the House Rules Committee. Instead of waiting for Congressmen and their staff to analyze the final bill, the Democrat leadership forced through today’s vote today by invoking a “Martial Law Rule.”

The Martial Law Rule dispenses with a longstanding House rule (Rule XIII(6)(a)) intended to give U.S. Representatives and the public enough time to understand significant legislation. The rule requires that there be at least one day between a bill’s unveiling and the House floor vote, and can only be suspended if two-thirds of the House agrees – but the Martial Law Rule dispenses with that process entirely.

Critics on both the left and the right have denounced the tactic, saying it empowers a party’s leadership to act in an authoritarian manner and endangers democratic self-government by forcing members to vote blindly on measures demanded by their leaders.

The bill requires that every time an organization runs a campaign ad, its CEO must appear in the ad and twice state his name and the organization’s name. The top five funders of the organization behind the ad – even if they had nothing to do with the ad’s funding – must also have their names listed in the ad.

In addition, the most “significant” donor to the organization must list his name, rank, and organization three times in the ad.

Critics of the bill say that the disclaimers effectively devour valuable airtime bought by these groups that would otherwise be used to inform voters about a candidate’s record.

“We’re getting a little silly here. We’re talking about making disclaimers that are going to take the entire time of a commercial,” stated Rep. Lungren during debate.
He also expressed grave concern that individuals – with names and addresses publicly available – would be subject to reprisals for making a political statement. He pointed to the situation in California, where supporters of Proposition 8 have been victims of reprisals by homosexualist activists.

“We are chilling speech already, and now we are getting into direct intimidation by requiring the residence of people living there,” he said.

Other affected entities under the bill will likely include vocal liberal and conservative groups that communicate through the internet. While traditional media organizations like newspapers and television stations are exempt from the bill, bloggers, the vanguard of the “new media,” are not.

How representatives voted – click here.
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives – click here.
Contact information for the U.S. Senate – click here.

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Breaking: House Dems Preparing Thursday DISCLOSE Act Vote to Muzzle Pro-life, Pro-family Groups
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jun/10062313.html
Congress to Vote on DISCLOSE Act – Condemned by Pro-Life, Pro-Family Groups
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jun/10061707.html

Bad Aim? NRA shoots 1 to save 2 – free speech deal

Posted in free speech with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2010 by saynsumthn

This is an editorial from the Washington Post and explains the title:

NRA exemption shows campaign disclosure bill’s cynical, fatal flaws

“[]The NRA — on whose board of directors I serve — rather than holding steadfastly to its historic principles of defending the Constitution and continuing its noble fight against government regulation of political speech instead opted for a political deal borne of self-interest in exchange for ‘neutrality’ from the legislation’s requirements.” — NRA Director Cleta Mitchell, June 17, 2010

By Cleta Mitchell
Thursday, June 17, 2010; A21

The cynical decision this week by House Democrats to exempt the National Rifle Association from the latest campaign finance regulatory scheme is itself a public disclosure. It reveals the true purpose of the perversely named Disclose Act (H.R. 5175): namely, to silence congressional critics in the 2010 elections.

The NRA “carve-out” reaffirms the wisdom of the First Amendment’s precise language: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.”

Congress can’t help itself. Since 1798, with the Alien and Sedition Acts, incumbent politicians have yearned for legal duct tape for their opponents’ mouths. The Disclose Act is a doozy of a muzzle.

For its part, the NRA — on whose board of directors I serve — rather than holding steadfastly to its historic principles of defending the Constitution and continuing its noble fight against government regulation of political speech instead opted for a political deal borne of self-interest in exchange for “neutrality” from the legislation’s requirements. In doing so, the NRA has, sadly, affirmed the notion held by congressional Democrats (and some Republicans), liberal activists, the media establishment and, at least for now, a minority on the Supreme Court that First Amendment protections are subject to negotiation. The Second Amendment surely cannot be far behind.

Since the court’s January decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations cannot be constitutionally prohibited from making independent candidate-related expenditures, Democrats have been hyperventilating at the notion that corporations might spend millions of dollars criticizing them. To foreclose that possibility, the Disclose Act would impose onerous and complicated “disclosure” restrictions on organizations that dare to engage in constitutionally protected political speech and on corporations that dare to contribute to such organizations.

Democrats would effectively neuter the court’s decision by requiring the names of multiple donors to be recited in ads (thus shrinking the time spent on actual speech), requiring the CEO of a corporate donor to personally appear in campaign-related ads, expanding the coverage period to virtually the entire election year, and including myriad other rules that the NRA described last month as “byzantine” and an “arbitrary patchwork of reporting and disclosure requirements.”

The NRA’s wheel-squeaking bought it an exemption from those requirements. Tea Party organizations arising spontaneously since 2009? Out of luck. Online organizations with large e-mail followings but perhaps no formal dues structure? Forget it.

Receiving less attention than the NRA “carve-out” but no less cynical is the bill’s sop to organized labor: Aggregate contributions of $600 or more would be disclosed. Why start at $600? Why not $200 or, say, $500? Because most union members’ dues aggregate less than $600 in a calendar year and thus members’ contributions to labor’s campaign-related spending wouldn’t need to be disclosed . . . even to the union members whose dues are spent for political purposes.

In Citizens United, the court held that the First Amendment doesn’t permit Congress to treat different corporations differently; that the protections afforded political speech arise from the Constitution, not Congress. Otherwise, it would be tantamount to a congressional power to license the speech of some while denying it to others.

The NRA carve-out is a clear example of a congressional speech license.

The ostensible purpose of the legislation is benign “disclosure,” upheld in Citizens United as permissible under the First Amendment. Even conservative Justice Antonin Scalia has expressed skepticism about the constitutional infirmity of disclosure requirements in another case argued this term; Scalia intoned in oral argument that “running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage.”

That’s true. Indeed, the law upheld in Citizens United requires all donors to candidate-related expenditures to be publicly disclosed to the FEC in a timely manner.

But the Disclose Act isn’t really intended to elicit information not currently required by law. The act serves notice on certain speakers that their involvement in the political process will exact a high price of regulation, penalty and notoriety, using disclosure and reporting as a subterfuge to chill their political speech and association.

It is only disclosure, say the authors. And box-cutters are only handy household tools . . . until they are used by terrorists to crash airplanes.

This is not just “disclosure.” It is a scheme hatched by political insiders to eradicate disfavored speech. There is no room under the First Amendment for Congress to make deals on political speech, whether with the NRA or anyone else.

The writer is a partner at Foley & Lardner who works in campaign finance law and is a member of the NRA’s board of directors.