Note: Today, the U.S. Senate is reconsidering passage of the DISCLOSE Act (S. 3295). The measure was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in July but has stalled in the Senate in the face of a Republican filibuster. In July, all Republican senators marched in lockstep with the party leadership and refused to allow a vote on the bill.
The Republican filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act is a travesty and a betrayal of the professed principles of many individual senators. Several Senate Republicans have a long history of supporting transparency when it comes to money in politics. The issue is not whether there is a Republican senator who supports disclosure – there are plenty – but whether one or more of these senators is willing to stand for this principle against the wishes of party leaders.
A recent study by Public Citizen shows that more than two-thirds of independent political groups are refusing to disclose their funding sources for electioneering communications for this election cycle. Precisely when disclosure is most important – at the time in which the U.S. Supreme Court has unleashed unlimited corporate money flooding our elections – 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.
Public Citizen calls upon those senators who believe in openness to stand true to their principles, end the filibuster and bring all this new special interest money out of the shadows.
Craig Holman is the government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen.