The TRUTH Act

The TRUTH Act

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS; PURPOSE.

  1. SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the “Truthful Representations and Honesty in Government Act” or the “TRUTH Act of 2021”.
  2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec 1. Short Title; Table of Contents; Purpose
Sec 2. Truthful Representations and Honesty
Sec 3. Protections for Freedom of Speech Under Federal Law
Sec 4. Rules of Construction
Sec 5. Penalties
Sec 6. Definitions

  1. Purpose.—The purpose of this Act is to establish truthfulness and honesty in government by compelling elected officials to act, speak, and behave in such a manner as befitting the Public Trust.

SEC. 2. TRUTHFUL REPRESENTATIONS AND HONESTY.

  1. IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provisions of federal or state law, it shall be a felony for any government official, officer or staffer of any government official, or any candidate seeking such a position of Public Trust, to, through the execution of their duties, powers, and/or official functions, knowingly and/or wilfully lie, mislead, or otherwise deceive the public; defame, slander, libel, or vilify a Person or private entity; or misrepresent the facts, data, or science of any matter over which the Office in which they serve or seek to serve has jurisdiction, influence, or regulatory authority. 
  2. APPLICATION.—§2(1) shall apply to all positions within the United States Government, regardless of branch or term of office, up to and including the President of the United States.

SEC. 3. PROTECTIONS FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH UNDER FEDERAL LAW.

  1. IN GENERAL.—With respect to the Freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (Freedom of Speech Clause, Amdt1.2.1), no Person may be penalised—
    1. for speaking in a private capacity; or
    2. expressing, either through words or actions, a personal opinion outside of their official functions, duties, and responsibilities as a government official.

SEC. 4. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

  1. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.—Nothing in this Act may be construed in any way as infringing, limiting, or otherwise restricting the right to the Freedom of Speech. 
  2. NO REQUIREMENT TO SPEAK.—Nothing in this Act shall require or compel any Person or private entity, whether acting in an official capacity or as a private individual, to speak or make any public statement(s) or affirmation(s).
  3. CAMPAIGNING.—For the purposes of this Act, all statements and actions made during and throughout the process of a campaign for office are included.

SEC. 5. PENALTIES.

[to be completed by legislators]
[Suggestions include:

    • Loss of Committee Assignments for Congressional Representatives and/or Senators
    • Monetary Fees and Fines
    • Publication in the Congressional Record of the date, time, and nature of the infraction(s)
    • Disqualification for the Office sought in an Election
    • Referral to the Ethics Committee for investigation
    • Congressional Censure
    • Impeachment and removal from Office

]

SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

    1. PUBLIC TRUST.—The term “Public Trust” has the meaning given the term in section 5 C.F.R. Part 731.
    2. PUBLIC.—The term “Public” has the meaning of the population of individuals within the United States in association with civic affairs, or affairs of office or state.
    3. PRIVATE ENTITY.—The term “Private Entity” has the meaning given the term in section 102 of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (6 U.S.C. 1501).
    4. LIE.—The term “Lie” has the meaning of any assertion that is known to be false.
    5. MISLEAD.—The term “Mislead” has the meaning of any action that hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true.
    6. DECEIVE.—The term “Deceive” has the meaning of any statement or action that hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true.
    7. DEFAME.—The term “Defame” has the meaning of any oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation.
    8. SLANDER.—The term “Slander” has the meaning of any oral communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation.
    9. LIBEL.—The term “Libel” has the meaning of any written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation.
    10. VILIFY.—The term “Vilify” has the meaning of any statement or action of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation.
    11. FACTS.—The term “Facts” has the meaning of individual, objective, verifiable occurrences in the real world which can be checked by standard references and reproducibility, historical record, or other data.
    12. DATA.—The term “Data” has the meaning of individual facts, statistics, or items of information that are collected through observation about one or more persons or objects, situations, forces, or phenomena.
    13. SCIENCE.—The term “Science” has the meaning of the systematic enterprise that builds and organises knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.
    14. SPEECH.—The term “Speech” has the meaning of human vocal or written communication using language.
    15. PERSONAL OPINION.—The term “Personal Opinion” has the meaning of a judgement, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive or objective fact.