House Democrats Introduce DISCLOSE Act 2012
February 9, 2012 (Washington, DC) House Administration Committee Ranking Democrat Robert Brady (PA) joined Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD) in introducing the DISCLOSE 2012 Act today.
Under the Democratic Majority in 2010, the first DISCLOSE Act was passed in the House of Representatives, but died in the Senate, falling one vote short to end a filibuster. The bill seeks to restore the American people’s trust in our elections process in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Since that 2010 Supreme Court ruling, an estimated $135 million in secret money was funneled into congressional campaigns alone. Two years removed from that ruling, we are seeing the emergence of powerful candidate-specific Super PACs. With only a wink and nod to laws requiring no coordination, Super PACs are currently able to spend unlimited sums of money, collected from the deep pockets of secret donors, outside groups, and corporations. Many of these groups have no obligation to disclose their donors.
Passing the DISCLOSE 2012 Act would vastly improve the transparency of our elections by requiring campaign funding disclosure by Super PACS, corporations, outside groups, and lobbyists. Corporations would have to disclose their campaign expenditures to their shareholders and all groups would have to stand by their political advertisements.
“We knew this was the right thing to do two years ago, and it’s only become more critical since then,” said Brady. “Our system of campaign finance has become so absurd that jokes about our democracy have become a staple of late night television and the American people are left wondering ‘Is this the best we can do?’”
“Millions of undisclosed dollars are playing an unprecedented and unwelcome role, dominating the race for the Republican presidential nomination,” said Elections Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles A. Gonzalez (TX). “The forgotten part of the Citizens United decision is that eight Supreme Court justices endorsed strong disclosure requirements to keep campaign finance transparent to defend the integrity of our election system. We need to have immediate hearings on the impact of undisclosed corporate donations and how the DISCLOSE 2012 Act can clean up our politics.”
“We have seen an explosion of unlimited and secret contributions to Super PACs since the Citizens United decision,” said former Elections Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren. “If corporations and wealthy individuals are allowed to contribute millions of dollars to unfairly influence elections, the public has a right to know where this money came from and where it is going.”
According to recent polling conducted Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research, a majority of Americans believe secret money plays too big a role in campaigns. The DISCLOSE 2012 Act represents a real chance to restore public trust in our elections.