Statement on H.R. 1 from Former ACLU President Nadine Strossen

February 27, 2019 | PUFP Staff

“To exercise our free speech rights meaningfully and in order to advocate effectively for causes we support, we must be able to amplify our individual voices by working together with like-minded Americans in associations and organizations. Individuals must be able to join and support such groups without having their names and other private information disclosed, to avoid potential retaliation from others who disagree with some of the groups’ work. The Supreme Court unanimously recognized these crucial First Amendment rights in a landmark 1968 case protecting the right to join and support the NAACP anonymously. Just as these First Amendment rights were essential for the NAACP’s effective advocacy – indeed, even for its ongoing existence – these rights remain essential today for the ongoing advocacy of civil society groups across the ideological spectrum. However, provisions in the “DISCLOSE Act” (Title IV, Subtitle B) section of H.R. 1 would force nonprofit groups to publicly identify certain donors and members. This would deter individuals from exercising their First Amendment rights, thus not only undermining their freedom and democratic participation, but also undermining the vibrancy and diversity of civic groups and public discourse.”

-Nadine Strossen, Former President of the American Civil Liberties Union