Government transparency is key to a healthy and strong democracy.
Transparency in government is key to a healthy and strong democracy. Marylanders have a right to know who is trying to influence our views and our representatives. A 21st century democracy requires strong transparency and disclosure laws so everyone knows who is funding political campaigns. Secret money in elections is unacceptable and undemocratic.
The need for heightened transparency has never been more urgent, as millions of dollars from anonymous sources flood into elections around the country. In Maryland, we see out-of-state special interests investing unprecedented amounts of money into every election – from statewide races to local ballot initiatives.
The Citizens United Supreme Court decision opened the floodgates of money in politics. However, the U.S. Supreme Court, in that decision and others, has upheld the need for disclosure.
Common Cause Maryland works to strengthen transparency in government across the state, including strengthening political spending disclosure laws so that every Marylanders knows who is trying to influence our votes and can see who is funding those efforts.
We’re pushing for discrete reforms to close loopholes wealthy interests use to advance their interests in our elections.
- Stop Scam PACs – In the past few years, we’ve witnessed a rise in PACs formed solely to prey upon enthusiasm for candidates. These organizations mislead Americans into believing that the PAC was formed to support a candidate, when funds end up going solely toward the benefit of those who started the PAC. We are working to put a stop to these shady practices.
- Ban LLC Donations – LLC donations provide wealthy interests with an easy way to circumvent current donation limits to candidates. Attempts have been made in the past to “close the LLC loophole,” however, our summer 2017 research into Baltimore City’s mayoral election show that these efforts have not stopped highly questionable methods of LLC giving. Federal candidates cannot accept corporate or LLC donations – why should Maryland behind the ball here?
- Root Out Illicit LLC Giving – While we would rather put a complete stop to LLC giving in Maryland, an interim step would direct the State Board of Elections to connect donation disclosures to State Department of Assessments & Taxation (SDAT), so that regulators can more easily detect donations made with fake LLC information.