Today, a Senate Committee takes up the issue of money in politics, specifically, whether we need disclosure of who is spending vast amounts of money in American elections. The League is deeply concerned about the current state of political financing in our nation.
Rather than focusing on the concerns of voters, too often campaigns and candidates focus heavily on raising funds. And too often, they raise those funds from sources that seek and receive special access, special consideration and special treatment once the candidate is elected to office. That is why, we support - and voters overwhelmingly back - disclosure and passage of the DISCLOSE Act of 2012. Read our full statement to the Senate Rules Committee here.
Sadly, there is corruption in our political system. It is the corruption of government that comes from special interest financing of elections, and it is the corruption of democracy that comes when a few very loud voices, funded by incredible sums of money, are allowed to overwhelm and drown out other voices during elections. But there is also a third form of corruption – the corruption that comes when the voters are deprived of the information they need to make informed decisions about the candidates seeking their votes.
In its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for big-money special interests in our elections. Corporations and unions can now make unlimited secret expenditures seeking to elect or defeat candidates. And they can make unlimited secret contributions to other entities that seek to elect or defeat candidates. This is unacceptable and we hope and trust that the Citizens United decision will itself be overturned, limited or corrected.
Right now, the most important thing we can do to preserve the integrity of our elections is to increase transparency and let the sunlight shine in. Disclosure of corporate, union and individual spending in our elections is the key to allowing voters to make their decisions. The DISCLOSE Act of 2012 accomplishes that fundamental purpose.