We are all aware that the huge amount of special interest money, particularly in federal races, has been a problem for years. We also know that these problems have been magnified by the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case which unleashed corporate spending for supposedly independent campaign expenditures and which has resulted in millions and millions of dollars in secret contributions.
And we are also concerned that a great deal of this money is going into highly negative, and often misleading, election-related ads.
There is a lot of frustration within the League - and around the country generally – about what can be done to minimize the ramifications in the 2012 election year and beyond.
Here are just some of the things we’re working on to get special interest, secret money out of elections –
- We are continuing the fight to pass the DISCLOSE Act. This essential legislation will require financial disclosure for all campaign advertising. No longer will trade associations, corporations and wealthy individuals be able to make secret contributions to run election ads. Our volunteer national Lobby Corps is working both the Senate and the House on the bill, we made a statement to the Senate Rules Committee, and you can expect a series of up-to-the-minute action alerts.
- As you know, the Federal Elections Commission is not enforcing current law on campaign finance, so we and our sister organizations have been pressing for big changes. As a start, we’ve called on the President to appoint five new commissioners to the agency. With the strong support of thousands of League members, our efforts on the petition to the President on the FEC reached its goal of 25,000 signers and we are anxiously awaiting his promised response to the petition and the continuing problems at the FEC.
Big money in elections – and the related avalanche of questionable and negative campaign ads – will be an inescapable reality in election year 2012. But the League is not sitting back quietly while that happens!