Appeals Court Rules Again NAM in Disclosure Lawsuit

Posted September 8, 2009 at 4:17pm

The National Association of Manufacturers is considering its next step after a three-judge appeals court panel upheld a provision Tuesday in the lobbying law that requires trade associations to disclose members who contribute to its federal lobbying activities.

“We are disappointed by today’s ruling,— NAM spokesman Hank Cox said in a statement. “We still don’t understand why organizations that are exercising their First Amendment rights to provide vital facts and viewpoints to Congress should be subjected to complicated, vague disclosure requirements that tend to discourage the sharing of information.—

NAM unsuccessfully argued that the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which requires organizations to release the names of members who contribute more than $5,000 in a quarterly period for lobbying activities, is unconstitutional and violates their members’ right to freedom of association.

Cox said NAM will take the next three months to review how the organization will move forward.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit disagreed with NAM, writing that there is nothing unconstitutional about the Congressional law “to shine increasing light on the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence the public decision making process.—

Watchdog groups like the Campaign Legal Center applauded the court’s decision.

“NAM’s case against the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act is a clear indication that the goal of the anti-reform community is no longer to simply overturn laws that regulate their campaign or lobbying activities, but to conduct those activities with complete anonymity,— the center wrote in a press release.