Van Hollen Reintroduces DISCLOSE Act
Today Maryland Congressman Van Hollen issued the following statement on the reintroduction of the DISCLOSE Act, which will promote transparency and disclosure of the secret money being used to influence American elections:
“I’m pleased today to reintroduce the DISCLOSE Act. The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to secret special interest spending in American elections, and the surge of this money only continues you grow. Congress must restore the integrity of our electoral process – in the face of a secret special interest takeover of our democracy, failure to act is inexcusable.
“The American people deserve a political system that is fair, transparent, and accountable. This legislation would help do that by ensuring that people know who is bankrolling the ads designed to influence their votes. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this legislation – if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from the DISCLOSE Act.”
In June, 2010, the House passed the DISCLOSE Act, which required enhanced donor disclosure. Unfortunately, the Senate version of the bill died after falling one vote short of breaking a filibuster. The consequences have been stark. In the absence of this enhanced disclosure, we saw an estimated $135 million of secret money funneled into the Congressional elections in 2010. In 2012, we saw an estimated $ 300 million of secret money funneled into the Presidential election. Most recently, approximately $173 million of undisclosed outside money poured into the 2014 midterm elections.
The DISCLOSE Act would:
- Increase disclosure of political spending by corporations and outside groups to the federal election commission;
- Require corporations and outside groups to stand by their broadcast ads;
- Require corporations to disclose their expenditures to their shareholders and organizations to disclose their expenditures to their members; and
- Require lobbyists to disclose their campaign expenditures.