OPEN Act Seeks Disclosure of Corporate and Union Political Spending and Limits On 501(c)(4) Political Activity


Yesterday, Rep. Matt Cartwright introduced H.R. 2670, the Openness in Political Expenditures Now Act (OPEN Act), to address the flood of secret political spending by corporation and unions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens Uniteddecision. The legislation would require corporations and labor unions to disclose political expenditure details to shareholders or union members. The legislation would also cap the amount of political spending by tax-exempt 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations at the lesser of 10% of the organization’s total annual budget or $10,000,000.

“Representative Cartwright’s bill would curb the rapidly-growing abuse of the tax code by de facto political committees posing as 501(c)(4) social welfare groups in order to hide the identities of those seeking to buy influence in Washington,” said Paul S. Ryan, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel. “Further, the bill would provide greater disclosure of corporate and union political spending, which the Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision assured us existed, but in fact does not. The American public is fed up with secret money in politics and Congress must address the matter before the next election. The OPEN Act and other laudable bills to address the growing problem need to be part of the discussion as Congress moves to address this festering sore on our democracy.”

To read the full bill, click here.