“We already pay for congressional campaigns, we just label it ‘the national debt.’ Interests that donate to campaigns often get what they want from legislation, and we all pay for that; by comparison, public financing seems like a bargain.”- Lee Hamilton
In a letter sent to every US Senator, Bill Bradley, Bob Kerrey, Warren Rudman and Al Simpson write, “This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages. It is time for Congress to enact legislation that implements this important principle.”
The DISCLOSE 2012 Act (s. 3369) will soon be debated on the floor of the United States Senate. This legislation is sorely needed to provide the sunlight of transparency on our government and improve the health of our democracy.
We strongly encourage you to vote to affirm the fundamental democratic values that this legislation embodies – the ability of the American people to determine who is spending money to influence the political debate and to draw their own conclusions as a result of that knowledge.
The DISCLOSE 2012 Act requires all “covered organizations” that spend $10,000 or more on a campaign related disbursement to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 24 hours of the expenditure. The FEC must post the report on its website within 24 hours of notification. It is important to note that “covered organizations” include labor unions, corporations, section 501(C) organizations, section 527 groups, and Super PACs. All of these entities are subject to the same requirements, an important improvement over earlier versions of this legislation.
Both the US Congress and the US Supreme Court have long endorsed the importance and constitutionality of the disclosure of political expenditures. Even as the US Supreme Court issued its narrow 5-4 ruling in the case of Citizens United v. FEC, an 8-1 majority concurrently reiterated its support for the critical role that transparency plays in our elections. As the court stated, “the first amendment protects political speech, and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in the proper way. This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.” It is time for Congress to enact legislation that implements this important principle.
We urge you to support the DISCLOSE 2012 Act.
Sen. Bill Bradley
Sen. Bob Kerrey
Sen. Warren Rudman
Sen. Al Simpson