DISCLOSE Act would be a key first step toward campaign reform

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  • Dale Eisman

The revival of the DISCLOSE Act, which was supported by a majority in both the House and Senate during 2010 but nonetheless blocked from passage, gives Congress a chance to do something good for democracy in this election year, Common Cause said today.

“This is critically important legislation. Strong financial disclosure, so that voters can know who is paying to influence their votes, should be one of the bedrocks of our campaign finance system,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar.

“Unfortunately, we’re now in the midst of a national campaign in which it’s already clear that a relative handful of big money donors are prepared to spend tens and perhaps even hundreds of millions of dollars in secret to elect some candidates and defeat others. This is not the American way, or at least it shouldn’t be,” Edgar said.

Edgar praised House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., for re-introducing DISCLOSE and for recognizing that toughened disclosure requirements are a “first step” – as Pelosi put it – toward a much-needed overhaul of the current campaign finance system.

“We’re particularly pleased that President Obama and Leader Pelosi also have both gone on record this week in support of a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and give Congress authority to impose sensible restrictions on political spending by corporations and other special interest groups,” Edgar said.

Common Cause last month launched Amend 2012, a campaign to help voters in as many states as possible send Congress a message – at the ballot box – that corporations are not people, money is not speech, and the Constitution must be amended to reverse Citizens United. The campaign is working on behalf of state ballot initiatives and referenda that would allow voters to instruct their representatives to pass an amendment.