Democrats push for transparency in political ads with DISCLOSE Act
Senate Democrats announced Wednesday that there would be a vote on the DISCLOSE Act of 2012 next week, legislation aimed at preventing political organizations from hiding their donors.
“The flood of secret money unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision threatens to drown out the voices of middle class families in our democracy,” said Whitehouse, who introduced the bill in March. “The DISCLOSE Act will uphold every citizen’s right to know where this secret money is coming from and whom it is going to, and will help protect the interests of middle class families from the special interests who already have too much power. It’s time for Congress to act.”
The bill would require organizations that spend $10,000 or more during an election cycle to file a report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours and identify any donors who gave $10,000 or more. The legislation would prevent politically-active “social welfare” organizations like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS from being able to hide wealthy donors.
The DISCLOSE Act would also require the head of any organization that puts out a political ad on TV or radio to publicly state that he or she approves the message, similar to what candidates must do now.
“When the Supreme Court upended 100 years of law with Citizens United, it yanked the microphone away from average Minnesotans and turned it over to millionaires and corporations,” Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who cosponsored the bill, said at a press conference. “Now a single person writing a check for millions of dollars can drown out the voices of everyone else – and they can do so in total secrecy.”
Meanwhile, House Democrats announced that they had filed a discharge petition so that the DISCLOSE Act could be voted on. The petition must be signed by 218 House members before it can be brought to the floor without going through committee. Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD) said Republicans had refused to even hold a hearing on the bill.
“This is a House of Representatives that is pretending that it is one of the most open House of Representatives in recent times, and yet they have refused to even hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act,” he said.
A stricter version of the bill, the DISCLOSE Act of 2010, was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube on July 12 by the Senate Democrats, below: