Senate votes on bill to force Super PACs to disclose their donors

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Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that the Senate will vote this week on a bill to force super PACs to disclose their donors.

Majority Leader Schumer said on the Senate floor:

Today, I’m announcing that the Senate will vote this week to pass a measure critical to fighting the cancer of dirty money in our elections: the DISCLOSE Act.

I have long promised to bring up this bill and I want to thank all my colleagues, especially Senator Whitehouse. He has done a great job documenting and continuing to try to eliminate the evil scourge of dark money. He has been a great leader in defending this legislation.

The DISCLOSE Act is based on a simple idea: Americans deserve to know who is trying to influence their elections. Sadly, most Americans today are largely in the dark thanks to the appalling decision in Citizens United handed down by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court. Their ruling has paved the way for billions in unlimited campaign contributions by Super PACs and other dark money groups over the past decade. The voice of ordinary citizens, meanwhile, has been drowned out by elites who are willing to pay millions for political donations.

And the worst? Many of these releases are done in complete secrecy. That’s not like a democracy. It is a veil over our democracy that must be ripped away once and for all.

The DISCLOSE law is simple. It would require super PACs and other dark money groups to report anyone contributing $10,000 or more in an election. It would also require groups that spend money on judicial nominees to also disclose their donors. There is no justification under heaven for hiding such enormous contributions from the public.

This week, Republicans will have to take a stance on whether they want to fight the power of black money, or let this cancer get worse. Limiting the power of dark money should not be a democratic or republican position. It must be twofold through and through.

I hope Republicans will join us because Americans intuitively understand that there is a stench taking over our campaign finance law right now.

After all, when was the last time any of us heard voters cheering about the spread of dark money?

When was the last time any of us heard voters say it’s better for billionaires and special interests to buy elections in secret rather than being accountable to the public?

Of course they don’t! Unless they themselves are the ones cutting the multi-million dollar checks.

So this week we’ll all be reporting on whether we think Americans deserve to know who spends billions to influence our democracy. It’s our chance to put into practice Judge Luis Brandeis’ famous saying that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

I once again commend Senator Whitehouse for his years of leadership in the fight against the rule of black money, and I urge all my colleagues to support this move this week.

The DISCLOSE Act highlights an important issue

Super PACs are flooding the airwaves with election ads, but voters don’t know who is funding the ads or what the agenda is behind it. The DISCLOSE Act would change that.

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Voters would be told whether a special interest is trying to influence an election because they would be told who is funding the ads.

Republicans in the Senate are more dependent on super PAC money than Democrats, so there’s no chance of ten of them joining Democrats to vote for the legislation.

However, Democrats are paving the way for legislation they will pass next year if they retain the Senate and expand their majority to destroy the filibuster.

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If the Democrats keep the House and Senate, getting rid of Citizens United is on the table.

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