Voters will be Victims of DISCLOSE Act Defeat Sunlight Foundation Blog
The Senate is expected to vote again tomorrow on the DISCLOSE Act, the bill passed by the House and supported by the President to counteract the damage done to our elections by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. For those just tuning in, that case said that corporations have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on independent expenditures in elections. The DISCLOSE Act would create a transparency regime so that corporations, unions and wealthy individuals who want to advance their own agenda by paying for independent expenditures could not do so while hiding their real identity.
In the weeks since the Senate’s last vote on the bill, what had been mere speculation that hidden money would shape the 2010 election season has become a cold hard fact. My colleague Paul Blumenthal wrote about a comprehensive report by Public Citizen that found that, “after nearly 100 percent of groups revealed the donors funding their electioneering communications in the 2004 and 2006 election cycles, fewer than 50 percent did so in 2008. In the primary season of the 2010 election cycle, fewer than one-third of groups disclosed their funders.”
Reporting by the New York Times also demonstrates that billionaires and privately held companies are likely behind some of the attack ads that aired during the primaries. Americans for Prosperity spent about $1.5 million helping Republican House candidates in recent months, but because it is a 501(c)(4) organization under the tax code, we can’t be sure where its money came from. (Billionaire David Koch is chairman of its sister organization, Americans for Prosperity Foundation.) Likewise, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, with its ties to Karl Rove, has spent millions of dollars on negative ads against Senate Democrats, but without having to disclose who is paying for the attacks.
This bill failed to pass. See GOP blocks Senate campaign-finance bill.
Update from Sunshine Foundation and as I noted:
This afternoon, the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate and proceed to vote on the Disclose Act. 59 senators voted to “create a transparency regime so that corporations, unions and wealthy individuals who want to advance their own agenda by paying for independent expenditures could not do so while hiding their real identity,” in the words of my colleague Lisa Rosenberg.