SHAHEEN: WE MUST MAKE ELECTIONS MORE TRANSPARENT, PROHIBIT EXCESSIVE CORPORATE CAMPAIGN SPENDING
Shaheen cosponsors legislation that would blunt Citizens United ruling
(Washington, D.C.)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen announced her support for new legislation introduced today that would blunt the unprecedented flow of corporate and special interest donations into U.S. elections. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act, of which Shaheen is an original co-sponsor, would bring transparency to the corporate-backed ads that will flood the airwaves in the 2010 midterm election and future election cycles. The legislation was crafted in response to the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case last January which overturned a decades-old law banning political expenditures by corporate interests.
"The American people lose when corporations and special interests can spend limitless dollars trying to sway public opinion and inject themselves in our democratic election process," said Shaheen. "Our citizens have the right to choose their elected leaders and we need to make sure it's their voices that continue to be heard. The DISCLOSE Act is a good first step in bringing transparency to our elections and reducing the impact of powerful special interests on our political system."
The DISCLOSE Act applies to corporations and advocacy organizations the same rules that candidates already have to abide by. The legislation will:
- Require new disclaimers on all television advertisements funded by special interests so that we drill down to uncover who is really behind the advertisement.
- Mandate an unprecedented level of disclosure not only of an organization's spending, but also its donors.
- Prevent foreign-controlled entities from spending unlimited sums in our elections through their U.S.-based subsidiaries.
- Ban companies with government contracts in excess of $50,000 from making unlimited expenditures.
- Ban expenditures by companies that receive government assistance such as TARP. Taxpayer money should not be used to help corporations influence elections.
- In an attempt to allow all candidates and parties to respond to ads funded by special interests, expand on current law granting lowest unit rate to candidates by giving those same rights to the parties - on a limited geographic basis.