Dems Make Another Push On DISCLOSE Act

It may not be as sexy as a constitutional amendment, but one effective way to fight back against the onslaught of money in our electoral system is to shine light on the people funding the races and the issue ads driving the debate.

Citizens United rightly gets derided as opening the floodgates to this cash, the decision did one thing right: it reaffirmed the constitutionality of laws that require the disclosure of the identities of political donors. The problem, of course, is that in reaffirming the disclosure laws the Supreme Court also gave wealthy donors an out by sanctioning the use of dark money via Super PAC’s. Congress tried to tackle the issue of dark money disclosure last year with the DISCLOSE Act. Republicans blocked the bill the first time around, but Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D-MD) has introduced a new version of the bill that would not be too late for the general election.

Van Hollen’s bill would maximize and expedite disclosure of information about individuals and corporations contributing money during political campaign seasons. Some might be bankrolling ads that clearly endorse or oppose a candidate; others might be spending on “electioneering communications” that mention the name of a candidate without explicitly advocating his election or defeat. It doesn’t matter. Van Hollen’s proposal covers them all. The non-partisan consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen came out in strong support of the measure and offered this statement:

Public Citizen heartily applauds Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) effort to lift the veil of secrecy that cloaks who is buying our elections. He introduced a straightforward measure today that would reveal the origins of secretive corporate slush funds that flood American elections. The stripped-down version of the DISCLOSE Act would require all entities that make campaign expenditures, including third-party front groups, to disclose the sources of those funds.

At this critical time when the U.S. Supreme Court has permitted unlimited corporate money to flood our elections – thanks to its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – we no longer have a meaningful disclosure law in place. The DISCLOSE Act closes the gaping loopholes in current disclosure laws that allow corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to hide their campaign spending by funneling their money through innocuous-sounding front groups. It is both a travesty and betrayal of the professed principles of the many in Congress who claim to support open government and honest elections that the majority of congressional Republicans continue to block transparency of money in politics. Many Republicans supported transparency until very recently.

Public Citizen calls upon all members of Congress to stand true to their principles and bring this new corporate money out of the shadows.

This latest version is a step in the right direction and would bring some much needed daylight into our campaigns. Voters deserve to be informed, not misled, and they have a right to know who is behind efforts to mislead them. It’s all a part of being an informed citizen. Contact your Representative and tell them to support the DISCLOSE Act. It’s time we got to see just who is trying to buy our elections.

Related Stories:

Senate To Vote On DISCLOSE Act Again

GOP Blocks Transparency In Campaign Contributions

Photo from Tracy O via flickr.


Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago


Nancy L.
Nancy L5 years ago

Super PACS should be illegal.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm5 years ago

Marxist state???? really??? you DO realize true Marxism has NEVER been part of any country right?? Good Grief.

Ben M.
Ben M.5 years ago

Paul, America is in the current mess because it's leaning too far right. Deregulation, privatization, competition over cooperation, overinflated military regimes, and favoring nationalism over international relations, have created a mountain of debt, unprecedented economic inequality, and the continuous concessions of (false) security over freedom. If this country were skewed any further right, it'd resemble full-on fascism.
Also, modern Republicans have sold-out completely, you're just too brainwashed to see the writing on the wall. Republicans traded in their values by adopting 'socialist' ideas, like corporations are 'too big to fail,' and accepting big-government bailouts. Republicans sold their ideology for money and have devolved into ultra-greedy selective-socialists: They socialize debt but privatize profits. Republicans today stand for nothing but greed.
Maybe you think using incendiary tag-words like "socialist" can improve your argument, but they don't. Socialist concepts align with (gave birth to?) the concepts of universal healthcare, public education, and universal suffrage. Socialist concepts have created universal healthcare for 28 of the 32 industrialized nations. Socialist concepts have brought universal healthcare, free higher education, and 4% (landfill) waste to most of Scandinavia. Their crime rates are second to none, and studies all over rate their overall happiness as the highest in the world. 'Socialist' concepts have improved living conditions fo

patricia m lasek
patricia lasek5 years ago

This, too, will be blocked by the obstructionist RepublicanTs and Tea-buggers.

Lin Moy
Lin M5 years ago


Virginia B.
Virginia B5 years ago

Why don't all of you Republican supporters actually sit down, study history, political science, and look up the real meanings of words, before you start throwing them around! Marxism indeed! Get a real grip on the situation.

Lynn C.
Lynn C5 years ago

Ha ha ha. Sorry but I have to laugh when someone says contact you Senator and tell them to vote for - - whatever. McCain? Jon Kyl? All it takes is one look at their voting record. A total waste of time.

Paul B.
Paul B5 years ago

You have to think that it is intentional... either that or he is just naive, and ideologue or ignorant, and that is what scares us the most.

We need this administration gone, and any of these Reps will be much more fiscally responsible than Obama, Reid and Pelosi will ever be. Period... stop the distractions anjd focus on the real issues facing our nation.

Paul B.
Paul B5 years ago

Todd D. - If we leave Obama in for 4 more years, there will be nothing left of our republic... he will have "transformed it" into a Marxist state with government controlled everything. We will be so far in debt that we will be like Greece. Screw the social issues... that is what the Left will be running on because their failed economic policies will only highlight all their failures. That is why they are even bringing up all these false accusations that Reps want to kill contraception. No Rep has even insinuated that they would change any laws regarding access to contraception. The problem with what they want now has everything to do with government mandates and their control over healthcare and our choices and rights as citizens.

Our biggest concern now, which the media and the left refuse to discuss is getting control of fiscal responsibility and our economy. the only way Obama knows how to decrease unemployment is through government stimulus which fails long-term every time. It must be constantly fed and always a net drain on the economy. They just don't understand economics.

His policies including the massive stimulus were failures as evidenced by the fact that not a single stat he said would happen happened. Unemployment, (the non-manipulated numbers are still over 9%). Ask any small business owner and ObamaCare and burdening regulations are killing their outlook and business, yet Obama presents a budget doubling down on the same failed policies. You have t