Legislators Looking to Limit Free Speech

Some legislators are unhappy.

Missouri Alliance for Freedom released its second annual scorecard this year.

We track a large number of bills each year – supporting those that increase freedom and opposing those that reduce it.

At the end of the session we review the legislation, covering a gamut of conservative issues, and score legislators’ votes on them.

There is no “gotcha”. We regularly update members, via email and social media, with our position on moving legislation. There are no surprises, and each legislator knows where they stand as session advances.

So why are they unhappy?

We tell their constituents.

Many legislators in Missouri run as conservatives but when they get to Jefferson City vote an entirely different way. We provide the update to their constituents on how their legislator is performing, holding elected officials accountable for the promises they make.

Notifying citizens on the votes of the legislators makes the legislators unhappy. Enough so, they are now targeting groups like us to squash our free speech and discontinue our work.

Some of these disgruntled legislators are calling for a law that would force private organizations and businesses to open up their finances to the government.

This would be similar to forcing you to hand over your bank statement to the government because an elected official disagreed with your post on Twitter.

These legislators claim that since they have to report their campaign contributions when they run for office, private businesses should also have to turn over their finances for…well, we’re not sure.

The Missouri Ethics Commissions states that RSMo. 130.01 says you must file for a committee and report donations and expenditures when you do the following:

  1. accept contributions or make expenditures for or against a candidate or ballot measure.
  2. contributions are made and received for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot measure.
  3. expenditures are made for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot measure.
  4. if you are an individual or entity spending $500 or more of their money for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot measure.

We fit none of these criteria.

In fact, Missouri Alliance for Freedom has done zero electioneering. None.

We have not campaigned or involved ourselves in any election for a candidate or any ballot measure.

So who’s being targeted?

Conservative groups. Groups like Missouri Alliance for Freedom, Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, United for Missouri, the National Rifle Association, and Missouri Right to Life would all be targeted by this legislation.

Ironically, the groups who participate in electioneering have political action committees (PACs) that do their campaigning. These PACs report their contributions and expenditures just like any other candidate or campaign committee to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

So why do some legislators wish to force private groups to turn over their finances if campaign activities are already reported?

They don’t like what we have to say and don’t like that we tell it to the citizens in their districts.

Plain and simple.

These legislators want to know who donates to private organizations, like Missouri Alliance for Freedom and the National Rifle Association, so they can take revenge on these donors and force them to discontinue the practice of sharing the voting habits of legislators to constituents.

It’s sad legislators would stoop so low to limit the free speech of those they disagree.

How much farther would legislators be willing to go to keep their power?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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