CEI Joins Coalition Letter Opposing H.R. 1 and S.R. 1

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Dear Speaker Pelosi, Republican Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader Schumer, and Republican Leader McConnell,

On behalf of the millions of Americans who cherish and rely on the right to support causes we believe in without fear of harassment and intimidation, we, the undersigned individuals and organizations, ask you to reject H.R. 1 and S. 1, the deceptively named “For the People Act.”

Nonprofit organizations serve a vital role in encouraging free speech and the free exchange of ideas. Privately supporting causes — and the organizations advancing those causes — is a fundamental freedom protected by the First Amendment.

Our Founding Fathers used pen names to encourage independence from Great Britain. Nearly 200 years later, the Supreme Court of the United States blocked the state of Alabama from demanding the supporter list of the NAACP, citing concerns about retribution against the group’s members and financial backers. And last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging a California regulation forcing charities to hand over their supporter lists to the government.

H.R. 1 and S. 1 would dramatically alter the First Amendment protections that Americans have enjoyed since the founding of our country. It would institute sweeping new burdens on their constitutionally protected rights to freely speak, publish, and organize into groups to advocate for the causes they support. In particular, H.R. 1 and S. 1 would impose onerous and unworkable regulatory standards on the ability of individual Americans and groups of Americans to discuss the policy issues of the day with elected officials and the public. This bill would also violate the privacy of advocacy groups and their supporters and stringently and excessively regulate political speech on the Internet.

More specifically, H.R. 1 and S. 1 include numerous, sweeping provisions that would violate the First Amendment rights of Americans by:

•   Subjecting citizens who contribute to nonprofit organizations to harassment and intimidation by making their personal information available in a searchable government database. This mandate focuses public attention on the individuals and donors who support causes instead of on the messages communicated by those organizations, exacerbating the politics of division and personal destruction and further coarsening political discourse. Thiswould have a considerable chilling effect on civic engagement and free speech.

•   Policing speech by Americans about legislative issues by expanding the definition of “electioneering communications” – historically limited to large-scale TV and radio campaigns targeted to the electorate in a campaign for office – to include online advertising that bears no relation to an election. This will subject far more issue ads to burdensome disclaimer requirements, which will coerce groups into truncating their message and make some advertising, especially online, practically impossible.

•   Indiscriminately regulating groups that incidentally or occasionally advocate on federal judicial nominations and require those groups to broadly expose their donors, even if those citizens had nothing to do with the groups’ speech about judicial nominees.

•   Forcing groups to publicly identify their supporters on the face of the ads themselves. Faced with the prospect of being inaccurately associated with what the law would consider (unjustifiably, in many or most instances) “campaign” ads in FEC reports and disclaimers, many donors will choose not to give to nonprofit groups.

•   Increasing regulation of the online speech of American citizens while purporting (and failing) to address the threat of Russian propaganda.

•   Expanding the universe of regulated online political speech by Americans beyond paid advertising to include communications on groups’ or individuals’ own websites and email messages.

•   Deterring American citizens from serving their country through political appointments by forcing them to disclose their donations to causes they have supported in the past.

Our elections will not be more honest, more informed, or more secure from foreign interference if we sacrifice the privacy of American citizens. But our democracy will be weakened if voices are eliminated from public debate through intimidation and overregulation.

As a Member of Congress, you have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. H.R. 1 and S. 1 propose multiple violations of our First Amendment

rights. On behalf of the millions of American citizens our organizations represent, we strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 1 and S. 1.

Sincerely,

Heather Lauer, Executive Director

People United for Privacy

Lisa B. Nelson

Chief Executive Officer

ALEC Action

Grover Norquist, President

Americans For Tax Reform

Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government

Affairs Officer

Americans for Prosperity

Michael P. Farris, President & CEO Alliance Defending Freedom

James L. Martin, Founder/Chairman

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President

60 Plus Association

Caleb Crosby, President and CEO Alabama Policy Institute

Bethany Marcum, CEO Alaska Policy Forum

John Droz, Jr., Founder

Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions

Bob Carlstrom, President

AMAC Action

Dick Patten, President

American Business Defense Council

Phil Kerpen, President

American Commitment

Bill Johnson, President

American Decency Association

Tom Pyle, President

American Energy Alliance

Carrie Ann Donnell, President & CEO* American Juris Link

Gary L. Bauer, President* American Values

Bradley Johnson, President

Americans for Intelligence Reform

Richard Manning, President

Americans for Limited Government

Mike Nichols, President

Badger Institute

John Toedtman, Executive Director

Caesar Rodney Institute

Will Swaim, President

California Policy Center

Ryan Johnson, Associate Commissioner, District 2*

Cass County Commission

Ryan Ellis, President* Center for a Free Economy

Cathi Herrod, Esq, President

Center for Arizona Policy

Andrew F. Quinlan, President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeff Mazzella, President

Center for Individual Freedom

Star Parker, President

Rev. Tim Latiff, Clergy Director

Center for Urban Renewal and Education

John Hinderaker, President

Center of the American Experiment

Larry Cirignano

Children First Foundation

David Nammo, Executive Director & CEO Christian Legal Society

Aaron Baer, President*

Citizens for Community Values

David N. Bossie, President* Citizens United

Charles Mitchell, President and CEO Commonwealth Foundation

Kent Lassman, President and CEO Competitive Enterprise Institute

Nathan Anderson, Executive Director

Concerned Veterans for America

Penny Young Nance, CEO and President Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee

Ron Pearson, Executive Director

Conservative Victory Fund

The Honorable George K. Rasley Jr., Managing Editor ConservativeHQ.com

Thomas A. Schatz, President

Council for Citizens Against Government

Waste

Linda W. Smith, President

D. James Kennedy Center for Christian

Statesmanship

Frank Wright, Ph.D., President & CEO* D. James Kennedy Ministries

Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director

Digital Liberty

Lawson Bader, President & CEO DonorsTrust

Colleen Holcomb, President

Eagle Forum

Tim Hoefer, President & CEO

Empire Center for New York State Policy

Craig Richardson, President*

Energy & Environment Legal Institute

Rob Roper, President

Ethan Allen Institute

Patrick Purtill, Director of Legislative

Affairs

Faith & Freedom Coalition

Craig DeRoche, President & CEO Family Policy Alliance

Bob Dane, Executive Director* Federation for American Immigration Reform

Kelly Shackelford, Esq., President, CEO & Chief Counsel

First Liberty

Tom McCabe, CEO Freedom Foundation

Annette Meeks, CEO

Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Adam Brandon, President

FreedomWorks

Randy Hicks, President and CEO Georgia Center for Opportunity

Victor Riches, President and CEO Goldwater Institute

Ron Williamson, President

Great Plains Public Policy Institute

Tim Macy, Chairman

Gun Owners of America

Sam Paredes, Executive Director

Gun Owners of California

Jessica Anderson, Executive Director

Heritage Action

Mario Lopez, President

Hispanic Leadership Fund

Jon Coupal, President

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Daniel Perrin, President

HSA Coalition

Fred Birnbaum, Director of Legislative

Affairs

Idaho Freedom Foundation

Idaho Freedom Action

Matt Paprocki, President

Illinois Policy Institute

Jon C. Caldara, President

Independence Institute

Heather R. Higgins, CEO Independent Women’s Voice

Ryan McCann, Executive Director* Indiana Family Institute

Andrew Langer, President

Institute for Liberty

F. Vinnie Vernuccio, President

Institute for the American Worker

Chris Ingstad, President

Iowans for Tax Relief

James Bopp Jr., General Counsel

James Madison Center for Free Speech

Becki Gray, Senior Vice President

John Locke Foundation

James Franko, President* Kansas Policy Institute

Phillip Wright, Executive Director* Keep My Voice

Jacob Hibbard, President

Latter-day Freemen

Seton Motley, President

Less Government

Colin A. Hanna, President

Let Freedom Ring

Connor Boyack, President

Libertas Institute

Charles T. Moran, Managing Director

Log Cabin Republicans

Gene Mills, President

Louisiana Family Forum

Joseph Lehman, President

Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Tom McClusky, President

March for Life Action

John Helmberger, Chief Executive Officer

Minnesota Family Council

Douglas Carswell, President & CEO Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Gregg Keller, Chairman

Missouri Century Foundation

Hunter King, Director of Federal Affairs

National Association for Gun Rights

Troy A. Miller, CEO

National Religious Broadcasters

Carol Tobias, President

National Right to Life

Greg Mourad, Vice President

National Right to Work Committee

Pete Sepp,  President

National Taxpayers Union

Karen Bowling, Executive Director

Nebraska Family Alliance

Robert Fellner, Vice President & Policy

Director

Nevada Policy Research Institute

Chris Chmielenski, Vice President

NumbersUSA

Ellen Weaver, President & CEO Palmetto Promise Institute

Daniel Erspamer, CEO

Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Michael Geer, President

Pennsylvania Family Institute

Jim Vokal, Chief Executive Officer

Platte Institute

Mary Taylor, President* Pro-Life Utah

Lorenzo Montanari, Executive Director

Property Rights Alliance

Eli Lehrer, President

R Street Institute

Mike Stenhouse, CEO

Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity

Denise Leipold, Executive Director* Right to Life of Northeast Ohio

James Wigderson, Editor* RightWisconsin

Paul Gessing, President

Rio Grande Foundation

Bette Grande, CEO Roughrider Policy Center

James Setterlund, Executive Director

Shareholder Advocacy Forum

Tracie Sharp, President and CEO State Policy Network

Maureen Blum, Founder and Principal

Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives LCC

Kristan Hawkins, President Students for Life of America Students for Life Action

David William, President

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Judson Phillips, Founder

Tea Party Nation

Jenny Beth Martin, Honorary Chairman* Tea Party Patriots Action

Robert Alt, President and CEO The Buckeye Institute

Gary Marx, President

The Concord Fund

Art Harman, Executive Director

The Conservative Caucus / Americans for

Constitutional Liberty

Jim Lakely, Vice President

The Heartland Institute

J. Robert McClure III, Ph. D., President and

CEO

The James Madison Institute

Brett Healy, President

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public

Policy

Daniel Garza, President

The LIBRE Initiative

Renee Carlson, General Counsel

True North Legal

Carl Bearden, CEO United for Missouri

Rusty Cannon, Vice President

Utah Taxpayers Association

Diane Spicher, President

Veterans and Patriots United

Jane Richey, Local Coordinator

Vegango County Tea Party Patriots

Lynn Taylor, President

Virginia Institute for Public Policy

Tertium Quids

Dann Mead Smith, President/CEO Washington Policy Center

Susan Loch, Co-Owner

WFYL 1180 AM

Julaine K. Appling President* Wisconsin Family Council

Richard M. Esenberg, President & General

Counsel*

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty

Scott Manley, Executive Vice President of

Government Relations

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Scott Suder, President* Wisconsin Paper Council

Heather Weininger, Executive Director* Wisconsin Right to Life

*Affiliation used for identification purposes only.