Carper and Coons denounce the Senate’s failure to pass the DISCLOSE Act to increase the transparency of our elections

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WASHINGTON DC- U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) today voted to pass DISCLOSURE ACT, legislation to combat anonymous special interest spending in American politics. Carper and Coons are both cosponsors legislation that would require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors and major sources of funding, allowing the American people to be more aware of who is trying to influence public opinion and elections .

“Dark money has left our democracy vulnerable to foreign interference and unfettered political spending by special interest groups for far too long. I am disappointed that my fellow Republicans in the Senate have once again blocked the DISCLOSE Act – a package of common-sense reforms to our campaign finance system that will shine a light on the millions of dollars secretly poured into political campaigns every election cycle,” Carper said. “Despite today’s setback, I will continue to build support for the passage of the DISCLOSE Act to restore confidence in our electoral process and ensure that American voices are heard.”

“We have seen a flood of black money become increasingly pernicious in its impact on our politics and policies, here in Washington and now across the country,” Coons said. “Wealthy individuals and corporations and shadowy special interest groups have contributed hundreds of millions, now billions of dollars, over several election cycles that have undermined the integrity and fairness of our elections that are in very heart of our democracy. This bill would do one simple thing: require full disclosure of all corporations, trade associations, non-profit organizations, engaging in the campaign trail, of any donors of $10,000 or more over a two-year period. . It wouldn’t solve all the problems created by Citizens United, but the sun is the best disinfectant, and despite today’s vote, the fight for greater transparency continues.

Background:

The influence of special interests on elections is a major problem in America. Citizens United and subsequent Supreme Court rulings allow super PACs and certain types of tax-exempt groups, such as 501(c)(4) nonprofits, to spend unlimited amounts in elections. Many of these groups are not required to disclose their donors, allowing businesses and individuals to spend unlimited, undisclosed – or “obscure” – money unrelated to television ads and other election activities carried out. by the groups. Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, campaign spending has skyrocketed. Black money in particular skyrocketed despite the Supreme Court by an 8-to-1 margin in Citizens United upholding disclosure requirements as a way for citizens and shareholders to hold elected officials and spendthrifts accountable.

The DISCLOSE Act requires organizations that spend money in elections — including super PACs and 501(c)(4) black money groups — to promptly disclose donors who have given $10,000 or more to the during an election cycle. The DISCLOSE Act will be key to helping Americans understand who is behind the massive rise in black money and other special interest spending in recent years. Black money spending in our elections since Citizens United has now exceeded $1 billion, and the pace of spending by outside forces (i.e., not the candidates themselves) is accelerating. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside spenders — super PACs, dark money groups, and political parties — spent $2.6 billion in federal elections during the 2020 election cycle; this is roughly double what was spent in the last presidential cycle in 2016.

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