Action Alert: S.1 Hurts Nonprofits and Freedom of Speech

June 21, 2021

This week, Senate Democrats plan to bring S.1, the deceptively named “For the People Act,” up for a vote. This bill not only undermines the ability of states to reform their election processes, but it also squelches speech by requiring nonprofits that communicate about issues to disclose their donors. The Act is so harmful to free speech and assembly that last Congress the ACLU recommended a “no” vote on the bill.

Your Senators need to hear from you about how harmful this bill is. “Division B” of the Act includes several provisions that will chill the speech of issue advocacy groups and nonprofits that educate Americans about current issues:

  • The DISCLOSE Act will expand the definition of political speech subject to complex government regulation. It also triggers significant donor disclosure requirements for organizations that spend more than $10,000 on ads about policy issues merely mentioning a candidate. The result will be increased harassment of nonprofit donors and decreased civic engagement.
  • Stand by Every Ad Act requires video and audio ads paid for by nonprofits, including communications on the internet, to identify each of the organization’s top five donors giving $10,000 or more, even if those donors only gave general support. This invasion of privacy will make it more difficult for groups to speak and dangerously expose citizens to public scrutiny.
  • The Honest Ads Act creates complex disclaimer and reporting requirements for merely mentioning a federal candidate or elected official in an online communication. Small organizations with limited resources that need to consult attorneys before communicating online will be squeezed out of the public square.
  • The Secret Money Transparency Act eliminates current safeguards that bar the Internal Revenue Service from issuing regulations that govern speech and citizen advocacy. Eliminating this safeguard would weaponize the IRS to become the “speech police.”

Please contact your Senators ASAP and tell them to vote NO on S.1!

S.1 tramples on Americans’ freedom of speech and ability to privately give to causes they care about.

S.1 weaponizes the IRS and FEC to police speech and private giving.

S.1 is bad for America and unconstitutional.