Carper, Coons Decry Senate Failure to Pass DISCLOSE Act to Increase Transparency in our Elections


WASHINGTON, DC – US Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) voted today to pass the DISCLOSE Act, Legislation to combat anonymous special spending in American politics. Both carpers and coons are co-sponsors legislation that would require organizations that spend money on federal elections to disclose their donors and primary sources of funding so the American people can better know who is trying to influence public opinion and elections.

“Dark money has left our democracy vulnerable to foreign interference and unfettered political spending by interest groups for too long. I am disappointed that my Republican colleagues in the Senate have once again blocked the DISCLOSE Act — a series of sensible reforms to our campaign finance system that will shed light on the millions of dollars that are covertly poured into political campaigns each election cycle.” Karper said. “Despite today’s setback, I will continue to build support for passage of the DISCLOSE Act to restore confidence in our electoral process and ensure American voices are heard.”

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“We have seen a tide of dark money grow ever more damaging in its impact on our politics and our policies here in Washington and now across the country.” said Raccoons. “Wealthy individuals and corporations, and shadowy interest groups, have contributed hundreds of millions, now billions of dollars, across multiple election cycles that have undermined the integrity and fairness of our elections, which are at the heart of our democracy. This bill would do one simple thing: full disclosure of every corporation, trade association, non-profit organization participating in election campaigns, and every donor of $10,000 or more over a two-year period. It wouldn’t solve all the problems Citizens United have created, but sunshine is the best disinfectant and despite today’s vote, the fight for more transparency continues.”

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Background:

The influence of special interests in elections is a big problem in America. Citizens United and later Supreme Court rulings allow super PACs and certain types of tax-exempt groups, such as B. 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to spend unlimited amounts on elections. Many of these groups are not required to disclose their donors, allowing companies and individuals to spend unlimited undisclosed — or “dark” — money without being tied to the groups’ television ads and other campaign activities. Since the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United in 2010, electoral spending has exploded. Dark money in particular has soared by an 8-to-1 margin in Citizens United, despite the Supreme Court, maintaining disclosure requirements as a means for citizens and shareholders to hold elected officials and corporate spending accountable.

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

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