It’s quite rare for any presidential campaign to ask its volunteers to sign a non-disclosure agreement from criticizing the candidate for life — primarily because it flies in the face of the First Amendment and suggests there is something sinister to hide.
But then again, Donald Trump is notorious for taking unprecedented (read: desperate) steps to make sure no one says anything bad about him, especially if they are people who work for him.
One of the many overlooked and controversial strategies adopted by the Trump campaign is the requirement for volunteers to fill out a nondisclosure agreement that basically prohibit them from criticizing the media mogul or his family.
Prospective members are also required to bring along a government-issued identification document, such as a driver’s license or passport.
AMAZING: Trump campaign is requiring supporters to provide government-issued ID and a signed NDA to volunteer. This is unheard of. pic.twitter.com/bP6gJGBbEC— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) September 21, 2016
And it gets worse.
In the beginning of Sept. 2, Rachel Sklar, a lawyer and CNN contributor, noted the contract also bars signatories from criticizing even Trump’s brands or disclosing any personal data, including his taxes.
It also bars employing people who work for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton — which is actually illegal, according to Sklar.
(1) I took a look at the legal form agreement mandatory for Trump online volunteers. Many flaws! https://t.co/t7RmSNl93I— Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar) September 2, 2016
(5) It's written to protect all of Trump's family and enterprises and anything created to benefit same. Broad AF! pic.twitter.com/sq4Wt5pKXx— Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar) September 2, 2016
(6) It assumes any breach of this overbroad AF agreement causes "irreparable harm" - fully indemnified, of course. pic.twitter.com/IXC3W3ZJAr— Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar) September 2, 2016
(7) Even by the grossly permissive standards of Citizens United, coercing your employees is completely illegal. pic.twitter.com/rV69hba0re— Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar) September 2, 2016
Oh, and the NDA is a lifelong pact.
All of this essentially means that if you are planning to join Trump’s team, you have to shut your mouth about him, no matter how he treats you or others, for as long as you are living and breathing. Consequently, you will be inevitably stripped of your First Amendment rights.
“I guess he doesn't know about the First Amendment,” employment lawyer Davida Perry told The Daily Dot in March. “This is really shocking.”
It is indeed. But Trump does this pretty much all the time. For instance, he sued his ex-wife Ivana in 1992 for $25 million for “willful, deliberate and surreptitious disclosure.” In July, Trump sued a former aide for $10 million, alleging he violated the NDA.
Considering the extreme lengths the media mogul is willing to go to just make sure no one spills the beans on him, one can’t help but wonder what is it exactly he is trying to protect — or hide.