From the office of U.S. Sen. Mikulski:
Senator cosponsors DISCLOSE Act and Constitutional amendment to help get dark money out of political campaign spending
“At a time when the American public needs a government on their side, they need to know who is working behind the scenes to get people elected,” Senator says
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced that following the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which opened the floodgates for unlimited, secret spending in American elections, she has cosponsored legislation that would help end secretive campaign spending in American elections.
“Five years after the Supreme Court opened up the floodgates to unlimited secret money in our elections, I’m keeping up the fight to give elections back to the people and out of the hands of special interests,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’m a fighter and a reformer. We must protect the rights of individuals, standing up for the voice of the little guy and gal and the integrity of our electoral system. At a time when the American public needs a government on their side, they need to know who is working behind the scenes to get people elected. I’ll continue to fight for Democracy and a United States Congress that’s unbought.”
Senator Mikulski has cosponsored the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act, legislation introduced by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would crack down on dark money by requiring organizations that spend money to influence elections to disclose their spending as well as their major sources of funding in a timely manner. Since Citizens United, there has been a dramatic rise in political spending by so-called independent groups with no disclosure requirements. In the 2014 elections-the most expensive midterm elections in our history, with over $3.6 billion spent-the Washington Post reported that at least 31 percent of all independent spending was spent by groups that are not required to disclose their donors. And that doesn’t even count spending on so-called issue ads, which is not reported.
The DISCLOSE Act requires any covered organization that spends $10,000 or more during an election cycle to file a report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours, detailing the amount and nature of each expenditure over $1,000 and the names of all of its donors who gave $10,000 or more. Transfer provisions in the bill prevent donors from using shell organizations to hide their activities.
Senator Mikulski has also cosponsored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution (S.J.Res.5) introduced by Senator Tom Udall that would restore authority back to Congress, individual states and the American people to regulate campaign finance. The constitutional amendment would reverse dangerous Supreme Court decisions like Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United and rein in the unprecedented flood of secret money in the campaign finance system. It would allow Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money, including Super PAC independent expenditures, while giving states the same authority to regulate campaign finance at their level.
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
· Restore authority to the American people, through Congress and the states, to regulate and limit the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns
· Allow states to regulate campaign spending at their level;
· Include the authority to regulate and limit independent expenditures, like those from Super PACs;
· Would not dictate any specific policies or regulations, but instead would allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges;
· Expressly provide that any regulation authorized under the amendment cannot limit the freedom of the press.