Rep. Maloney: “Let’s Shine Some Sunlight on Secret Political Donations”

Feb 10, 2012
Press Release

New York, NY – Today, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens), a longtime supporter of campaign finance reform, urged House Republicans to bring up for a vote the DISCLOSE 2012 Act (H.R. 4010), which requires disclosure of corporate and special interest money in politics.  Maloney is an original cosponsor of the legislation.

In January 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in its Citizens United decision that independent political spending may not be prohibited or limited by law.  The ruling allowed corporations and other special interests to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or oppose political candidates, provided that the spending is done independently of a particular campaign.  This decision has led to the creation of so-called “Super PACs,” which are currently raising huge sums of money, often from only a handful of wealthy donors, and are having a significant impact on primary elections nationwide.

“It’s said that sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Let’s shine some sunlight on secret political donations -- and hopefully the sun will set on the egregious attempts to buy elections that we’ve seen all too much of this year,” Maloney said.  “We cannot continue allowing corporations and special interests to use their resources, with zero disclosure or accountability, to drown out the voices of ordinary Americans.  This is undemocratic, and frankly dangerous.  At a minimum, the American people have a right to know who’s buying election ads and trying to influence their vote.”

To shine the light on money in politics, the DISCLOSE 2012 Act will:

•           Require public reporting by corporations, unions, Super PACs, and other outside groups to the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditure or transferring funds (of $10,000 or more) to other groups for campaign-related activity;

•           Require corporations and other outside groups to stand by their campaign ads -- with their leader and top financial contributors disclosed in the ads;

•           Require corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to shareholders and organization members; and

•           Require lobbyists to disclose campaign-related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.

Congressional Republicans blocked this legislation in 2010, and since that time, it’s become even more clear that greater disclosure is needed.  In the last two years, Super PACs have raised about $181 million – and much of that money will be spent in this year’s elections.