Texas Governor Rick Perry heard conservatives’ concerns loud and clear and has vetoed Texas S.B. 346, the bill sponsored by Texas Republican State Senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo that, had Perry allowed it to become law, would have created the kind of intrusive campaign disclosure requirements in Texas that establishment free speech opponents in Congress could only dream of.
Conservatives mounted a campaign to urge Governor Perry to veto Texas S.B. 346, and apparently Perry heard our message.
In vetoing the bill, Perry showed that not only does he subscribe to our constitutional vision of free speech and freedom of association, he understands the politics of what was going on in Texas S.B. 346 perfectly.
What Texas S.B. 346 was all about was not “disclosure” and “transparency” as State Senator Seliger and his State House cronies behind the bill would have people believe – it was about keeping themselves in power by intimidating the opposition.
Had Texas S.B. 346 become law, anyone who published a non-partisan voter guide on say, the right-to-life, home schooling or traditional marriage – even if they were based in another state – might suddenly find themselves subject to the requirement to make public the name and home addresses of their donors.
Rick Perry’s veto message showed he understood what Texas S.B. 346 was really all about:
"...no regulation is tolerable that puts anyone’s participation at risk or that can be used by any government, organization or individual to intimidate those who choose to participate in our process through financial means.
At a time when our federal government is assaulting the rights of Americans by using the tools of government to squelch dissent it is unconscionable to expose more Texans to the risk of such harassment, regardless of political, organizational or party affiliation. I therefore veto SB 346.”
Imagine if you will all of the donors who backed those groups who came together to expose former Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s record of big government Republicanism verses Ted Cruz’s record of defending the Constitution during the recent Texas Senate campaign suddenly finding their name, address and the amount they gave circulating throughout the internet and published in every newspaper in the country.
Exposing donors to the kind of intimidation and political reprisals suffered by supporters of Proposition 8, the traditional marriage Constitutional Amendment in California, is what Texas S.B. 346 was really all about, not “transparency.”
This is of critical importance going into the 2014 and 2016 elections.
The national Democratic Party and liberal interest groups have made “changing Texas from red to blue” a top priority. Hobbling conservative voter education and issue advocacy organizations would be a major step toward achieving that goal.
Texas Governor Rick Perry stood tall when he vetoed Texas S.B. 346 and proved that not only is he a principled advocate for our constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of association, he understands in very practical terms where allowing those rights to be eroded by big government eventually leads.