U.S. Chamber Predicted Its Undisclosed Speech Would Be Met With Skepticism
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is playing the role of unsuspecting victim in the face of attacks from Democrats over the undisclosed nature of its campaign spending, but the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein argues that it really shouldn’t be at all surprised:
When the business lobby was arguing the very idea that donor disclosure isn’t necessary, it made the point that balance already exists: those who fail to name donors face an intrinsic if not justified punishment in the form of public skepticism.
In the amicus brief it filed in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission — which allows corporate expenditures in political campaigns — the Chamber appears to have predicted the backlash it is now facing:
“Moreover, it is common experience that, where the supporters of exempt speech are not disclosed, opponents can and do exploit the silence as a reason for discounting the speech. The fact that many speakers decline to identify their donors, even though doing so weakens the credibility of their speech, again confirms that required donor disclosure is burdensome and likely to suppress speech.”
From the U.S. Chamber’s mouth to the Supreme Court’s ears: Undisclosed speech risks a greater chance of being viewed by the public as lacking credibility.