April 23, 2012
Dozens of Organizations and Investor Groups Call Upon Congress to Approve the DISCLOSE Act
Straightforward Measure Would Bring Corporate Campaign Spending Out of the Shadows
WASHINGTON, D.C.– In a letter sent today, 39 civic organizations and investor groups urged Congress to finally bring transparency to campaign spending by approving the “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections” (DISCLOSE) Act of 2012, sponsored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and co-sponsored by 160 other lawmakers. The straightforward disclosure measure (H.R. 4010) would require all entities that make campaign expenditures, including third-party front groups, to disclose the sources of those funds.
The groups include a wide array of campaign finance reform advocates, transparency organizations, and business ethics and investor groups.
The groups point out in the letter that it is a cardinal rule of campaign finance laws that citizens are entitled to know the names of donors who are financing campaigns and trying to influence their votes, and the amounts they gave. “This basic right to know has long been recognized by disclosure laws enacted by Congress and by Supreme Court decisions which upheld the constitutionality of these laws,” the letter said.
The groups wrote: “H.R. 4010 would provide the public with basic information about campaign expenditures made by outside groups to influence federal elections and the donors financing these expenditures. The legislation would also provide for timely disclosure by Super PACs, would require outside groups which make campaign expenditures to take responsibility for their campaign ads and would require corporations to inform their shareholders about their campaign expenditures.”
The groups conclude: “The DISCLOSE 2012 Act contains only disclosure requirements and does not contain special exceptions for any groups. Congress should enact the bill and provide citizens with information they have a right to know about who is giving and spending money to influence their votes.”
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.