Net Neutrality and the DISCLOSE Act

Tonight, I will be signing a petition and calling the offices of my Senators in order to weigh in on two very important initiatives, and I would like to ask that you do the same.

The first is called the DISCLOSE Act, and it’s being championed by Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Schumer. The bill, which would require corporations to report all election expenditures, passed the House in June, and it’s up for a re-vote in the Senate tomorrow. If you have an opportunity, please consider calling your Senators and asking them to support the legislation. Here, in hopes of convincing you, is a letter from Leahy and Schumer.

We need your help right now.

When the DISCLOSE Act came up just short of passing in late July, we knew we’d get another chance to control corporate spending to influence elections by voting on it in September — and due to some late changes in the legislative calendar, that vote is tomorrow.

Click here and call your senators to ask if they plan to vote for the DISCLOSE Act — and let us know what they say.

Your calls and your report will help us determine who we still need to convince to support the DISCLOSE Act when it comes up for a vote.

Corporations and special interests are already pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country, so this will almost certainly be our last chance to pass this critical legislation before the corporate-funded candidates from this election cycle reach Washington.

Please, call your senators now and find out if we still need to sway them!

So, if you do have a moment, please click here and join us in this attempt to at least somewhat mitigate the fallout from the unfortunate Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which, for the first time, gave both domestic and foreign corporations free reign to influence American elections.

And, once you’ve done that, I’d like to ask that you also weigh in on Net Neutrality. The folks at Daily Kos have joined up with the communications company Credo to launch a new initiative directed at Julius Genachowski, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Here’s the note I just received, announcing the initiative, and explaining why Net Neutrality is so vitally important tot he future of our nation.

Net neutrality is one of the bedrock principles of the Internet. It means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all websites equally. They cannot make it easier load some websites, and more difficult to load others. It’s what ensures your ISP can’t privilege Fox News over Daily Kos.

But net neutrality is not the law of the land, so ISPs can abandon it at any time. In fact, Google and Verizon have proposed that net neutrality be abandoned for the mobile web. And they have proposed other violations of net neutrality which would end the Internet as we know it. We cannot allow this to happen.

Nothing good is likely to make its way through Congress anytime soon, so Daily Kos is joining with CREDO to urge Julius Genachowski, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to take action.

Tell FCC Chairman Genachowski to act–don’t let corporations write their own rules.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Chairman Genachowski’s first major speech as head of the FCC, in which he committed to protecting net neutrality. However, despite having the votes on the FCC to pass strong net neutrality rules, Genachowski has avoided taking the necessary action to do so. There’s no good excuse for his dithering.

The regulatory vacuum his inaction has created set the stage for the Google and Verizon proposal, in which they are attempting to write the rules that would govern their behavior. To see what happens when large corporations write their own rules, we just need look at Wall Street, or the Gulf of Mexico. We can’t let that to happen to the Internet, too. We must push Chairman Genachowski to act before it’s too late.

Thank you for your consideration, and good night.

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  1. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Mark isn’t disclosing everything about the Disclose Act he supports. Here is the rest of the story from Liberty Counsel:

    The DISCLOSE Act is little more than an
    attempt to silence average Americans that
    would have a chilling effect on any
    criticism of an elected official during
    a federal election cycle. It is yet another
    blatant attempt to isolate Congress and
    the Washington power elite from
    accountability to America’s citizens.

    Under the DISCLOSE Act, the force of the federal
    government would dictate that anyone giving as little
    as $600 to a candidate or organization that makes
    certain statements during a federal election cycle
    would have to publically list their: (1) Name, (2)
    Home address, and (3) Name of their employer, on the
    organization’s or candidate’s web site.

    The low threshold of giving that triggers an infraction
    under the DISCLOSE Act would directly target average
    Americans. The law kicks in at giving that amounts
    to support for a candidate or non-profit advocacy
    group of just $50 per month!

    This would have a terrible, chilling effect
    on free speech. Frankly, the DISCLOSE Act
    is unconstitutional on its face, but that
    hasn’t stopped the Obama/Pelosi/Reid axis
    from ramming through legislation in the past!

    We can’t imagine a more tyrannical approach to campaign
    finance “reform.” With the Obama Administration’s and
    the 111th Congress’s “Chicago politics” pattern of
    misrepresentation, abuse, power grabbing, coercion,
    and now the potential criminalizing of speaking out
    against political candidates without exposing oneself
    to the bullying and oppression of leftist thugs…we
    simply cannot allow this latest scheme to get through
    the Senate!

  2. kjc
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Maybe Mark’s just a leftist thug.

  3. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 6:56 am | Permalink


  4. Edward
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The Tea Party has also come out solidly against Net Neutrality, as it would impede corporations like AT&T and Google in their quest for increased corporate profits.

    More and more, it’s looking like the Tea Party is a corporate front.

  5. Kevin Paul
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    One more good piece of legislation is being voted on today:


    This morning, the House Committee on Administration will vote on the Fair Elections Now Act. We expect the Committee to pass the bill. With enough momentum, the bill’s managers believe it will pass the House as well.

    This is a major milestone in the fight for fair elections. If the bill passes the House, it will be a huge victory for those of us who believe in the need for fundamental campaign finance reform.

    But this is also just the beginning of the fight. The Senate, unfortunately, is unlikely to pass the bill. That means we’ll need to begin anew in January with the next Congress.

    To mark this turning point, Lawrence Lessig has written a letter to all who believe in the need for reform. His letter makes the powerful case that we need to remember the core ideals of Progressivism. It’s not about liberalism or conservatism. It’s about a shared belief in the need to fix a corrupted government. True reform, Lessig argues, can only come from a cross-partisan, citizen-powered movement.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    …as I’ve said many times before, we cannot rely upon this inside the beltway fight alone. The change that the Fair Elections Now Act would effect would change Washington fundamentally. There are too many inside DC who depend upon the system as it is — for their own wealth, and future. They are not about to permit this fundamental change, and they have not yet even begun the fight against it.

    Instead, the battle to pass this reform will require something that none of us have seen in our lifetime — a broad based, cross-partisan, citizens movement that demands fundamental change in how our government works.

    This movement must take aim at the core corruption that is our government. Not the corruption of bribery, or improper (as in illegal) influence. Instead, it must attack the in plain sight corruption of the current system of campaign finance. Our Congress has become dependent upon their Funders. Their attention is devoted to their Funders. And like a 5 year old watching his dad on his BlackBerry, we get that we’re no longer the most important souls in their lives. In a very precise sense of the term, this Congress has been corrupted by this competing dependency. We must change this.

    To read the full letter, please click here ( We welcome your comments, thoughts, and questions.

    Lessig’s letter is a reflection on Progressivism, but it’s also a call to action. It’s crucial to keep building momentum for the cause. Can you send this letter to a friend?

  6. Sarah Krint
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The DISCLOSE Act failed today. Here’s the word from Washington Monthly.

    DISCLOSE ACT DIES AGAIN…. The DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) seems like such a modest proposal. It the wake of the Citizens United ruling, Democrats thought it made sense to require corporations and interest groups that pay for campaign ads to identify themselves — allowing the public to know who’s saying what.

    In the House, the proposal even had a Republican co-sponsor. In the Senate, Dems agreed to make changes Republicans wanted to see related to the way the legislation treated labor unions.

    But in July, every Senate Republican blocked the chamber from even debating the bill. Today, every Senate Republican did the exact same thing.

    The Senate on Thursday once again blocked consideration of a controversial campaign finance measure that would require greater disclosure of corporate campaign spending.

    A cloture motion to begin debate on the DISCLOSE Act fell short on a 59-39 vote. The outcome likely puts the legislation on the back burner until after the midterm elections, but it is unclear whether Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will try to take the issue up again during a lame-duck session.

    Democrats only needed one Republican to at least allow the Senate to debate the bill, but not one was willing to break ranks. Remember when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was a champion of campaign-finance reform? He not only opposed the bill, he filibustered an attempt to have a debate. Remember when Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) seemed like the kind of “moderates” who would support an effort like this? All three toed the party line.

    It was too late to make any difference in this cycle — “independent” groups helping Republicans are already trying to buy the midterm elections for the GOP — but it’s the kind of common-sense step that would have helped in the future. But “only” a 59-member majority supports the move, which in our dysfunctional legislative system, necessarily means it dies.

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