Feb 7 2008
Unfortunately, S. 714 was amended today to revert back to the bill as drafted. I was compelled to take the floor and argue the demerits of the bill and further more the unconstitutionality of this awful piece of legislation. “This bill is so unconstitutional, even a caveman can recognize it” was my point. Ya’ll need to remember that my mother is of the Hectorgundersoug family (Norwegian immigrants). Norwegians are know for their sarcasm. Back to the issue.
Points to ponder as we delve into this hysteria:
-The definition of political awareness organization is so broad it could essentially prohibit a group of concerned citizens from attending the local fair to distribute literature promoting animal rights unless they register with the government and disclose their donor base.
-NAACP v. Alabama 1958 was a case in the heated battle of the civil rights movement. Alabama passed a similar law that many believe was an effort to persecute those giving money to the NAACP. The Supreme Court ruled this unconstitutional on grounds of violation of our first amendment right of free speech.
-This bill could be interpreted as a jailable offence when organizations are noncompliant. Are we going to arrest every South Carolinian that is a member of the AARP if the AARP continues to promote their agenda for seniors?
-The Ron Paul revolution has impressed me. Ron Paul’s support is an inch wide and a mile deep. I’ve seen bed sheets spray painted hanging off bridges supporting his candidacy. This kind of political activism is impressive; I can’t in good conscience try to squelch this enormous effort. Could S. 714 define these freedom fighting citizens as “political awareness organizations”? Maybe so.
-The bill applies mainly to 501(c) 4s and 527s but we need to remember that the IRS is constantly questioning the qualifications of 501(c)3s. Recently, the NAACP was under investigation and the IRS almost changed their status from a c3 to a c4.
Remember I count pills for a living as I’m not the expert to argue constitutionality of an issue. However, we held our own yet my motion to table lost 18-22; closer than I ever imagined. We fought the good fight, and hopefully the House of Representatives can correct our errors or S. 714 get the Governor’s veto. I am very grateful for the unyielding members of the SC Senate that stood for freedom: Alexander, Bryant, Campsen, Ceips, Cleary, Courson, Cromer, Fair, Gregory, Grooms, Martin, Massey, McConnell, Ritchie, Ryberg, Setzler, Thomas, Vaughn*, Verdin