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AFP Key Vote Alert: Vote NO on H.R. 4617 The SHIELD Act

Oct 28, 2019 by AFP

Dear Representatives:

On behalf of Americans for Prosperity activists across the country, we urge you to vote NO on H.R. 4617. H.R. 4617 would create unconstitutional and unnecessary restrictions on speech by expanding the definition of electioneering communications and applying new burdensome regulations on online speech.  None of these new regulations would prevent foreign actors from attempting to influence American voters. Instead, they would deter everyday Americans from using the internet to engage in the political process and advocate for their beliefs.

Americans for Prosperity is committed to protecting civil liberties and making it easier for all Americans to participate in civic life and hold power to account. H.R. 4617 fails on both fronts.

We urge you to vote NO on H.R. 4617. Americans for Prosperity will include this vote in our congressional scorecard.

H.R. 4617 includes several key provisions from H.R. 1. Though H.R. 4617 claims to address corruption, it would shield those in political power from scrutiny by making it more difficult for people to have their voices heard.

H.R. 4617 forces websites to collect and disclose the name, address, and phone numbers of any sponsors of ads. Under this bill, any individual or nonprofit that posts an ad that advocates on “an issue of national importance” would be forced to disclose personally identifiable information to the public. This broad term could easily increase regulation on ads that are non-political in nature and unnecessarily violate an individual’s privacy.

H.R. 4617 also imposes disclaimer and disclosure requirements that are traditionally applied to television and radio broadcasts to the internet. The result, as we’ve seen from states that have adopted similar language, will be substantially increased costs for political speech on the internet and less speech overall – especially for those with less financial means to comply with these onerous requirements.

Finally, H.R. 4617 raises serious constitutional concerns. Its reporting requirements, for instance, may be unconstitutional as applied to certain broadband formats due to its impact on the underlying speech. Also, a government mandate that requires online platforms maintain and publish publicly identifiable information is likely government compelled speech in violation of the Constitution.

We urge you to vote NO on the H.R. 4617. Americans for Prosperity will include this vote in our congressional scorecard.

Visit our scorecard online at: AFPscorecard.org.

Sincerely,

Brent Gardner

Chief Government Affairs Officer

Americans for Prosperity