March 6, 2019
WASHINGTON – Why are organizations opposed to H.R. 1?
Free Speech Concerns
The National Right to Life Committee has come out against H.R. 1 in a letter on Wednesday saying, "H.R. 1 would not be a curb on corruption, but is itself a type of corruption – an abuse of the lawmaking power, by which incumbent lawmakers employ the threat of criminal sanctions, among other deterrents, to reduce the amount of private speech regarding the actions of the lawmakers themselves. Further, this legislation would add a commissioner to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), causing a partisan takeover by significantly increasing the likelihood that the agency could make decisions benefiting the political party in power."
"Although its supporters focus on aspects of the bill that purport to bring more people into the political process, other parts of the legislation are clearly designed to have precisely the opposite effect – pushing certain voices, representing large segments of the electorate and our economy, out of the political process altogether," said a letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with over 300 other national and local organizations.
An organization who strongly advocates for voting rights nationwide, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has come out against H.R. 1 saying, "There are also provisions that unconstitutionally impinge on the free speech rights of American citizens and public interest organizations. They will have the effect of harming our public discourse by silencing necessary voices that would otherwise speak out about the public issues of the day."
Increases Federal Bureaucracy
"Although we commend the House on addressing voting rights and campaign finance reform, we are very concerned that this legislation would create more bureaucracy by unfairly targeting and burdening trade associations with arbitrary and onerous requirements and regulations," said the National Electrical Contractors Association in a letter on behalf of their 4,000-member employees.
"One Size Fits All" Washington Election System
"H.R. 1 fails to address the underlying problems in our election system and instead uses the heavy hand of the federal government to control most aspects of the election process, which are properly under the jurisdiction of state governments," said the National Taxpayers Union in an opposition letter to H.R. 1. They went on to say, "Our founders were wary of large-scale federal involvement, which led to the decentralized federalist system that exists today."
A letter from over 30 organizations led by FreedomWorks said H.R. 1, "would have a chilling effect on free speech in America and federalize all U.S. elections." The letter goes on to say, "H.R. 1 would essentially nationalize elections and disregard the proper role of states and localities in determining best election practices. Not every precinct is created equal, and each has different needs to ensure it runs smoothly on election day one-size-fits-all fiat from the federal level would ensure chaos on Election Day and prevent many voters from having their voices heard."
"H.R. 1 would federalize many areas of election administration, dictating election procedures from Washington in great detail while undermining or removing safeguards that protect the ability of eligible voters to ensure that their votes are counted and not cancelled out by a fraudulent vote. These sweeping changes to our election system have been drafted without any input from state and local election officials, who have first-hand knowledge of election administration and whose duties would be much more difficult under H.R. 1's dictates," said the Republican National Lawyers Association in an opposition letter to H.R. 1.
Partisan Approach to Election Reform
"H.R. 1 cloaks itself in the guise of transparency and fairness but in reality is a partisan scheme to choke off dissent and squelch Republican candidates and conservative political voices," said a letter from Heritage Action for America. The letter goes on to read, "This fundamentally flawed legislation establishes a new taxpayer-funded bailout of political campaigns, weaponizes the Federal Elections Commission by destroying the current bipartisan makeup, and creates a new, subjective category of "campaign-related" speech that is regulated by Washington bureaucrats who are empowered to enforce these regulations with penalties and censorship."
Conservative Action Project wrote, "While they cloak the bill in terms of "restoring democracy" and "preventing corruption," the legislation has one goal: to protect incumbents, at the expense of the First Amendment, federalism, and individual voter integrity."
To view a list of organizations in opposition and for more information on H.R. 1, click HERE.