Senate Urged to Pass DISCLOSE Act to Combat Growing Crisis of Dark Money In Our Elections


Today the Campaign Legal Center strongly warned against the growing threat of Dark Money to our democracy and provided testimony to the Senate Rules Committee that the DISCLOSE ACT would provide the disclosure called for by the U.S. Supreme Court in a number of recent campaign finance rulings.  In a statement submitted into the record of today’s hearing “The DISCLOSE Act (S.2516) and the Need for Expanded Disclosure of Funds Raised and Spent to Influence Federal Elections” Legal Center President Trevor Potter and Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert condemned the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) “blatant override of Congressional intent” in the rules issued by the Commission to implement the disclosure requirements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

Potter and Hebert explained that the FEC precipitated the current crises, undermining Congressional efforts to increase disclosure of the funders of outside spending:

The DISCLOSE Act is of particular urgency due to the mushrooming of outside spending in elections combined with the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) ongoing efforts to narrow the coverage of the disclosure rules. The FEC’s disclosure regulations—which are clearly contrary to the legislative intent of Congress—and the Commission’s failure to enforce the law as intended have largely created this problem. The good news is that this is a problem that can be fixed legislatively, and in fact was addressed by Congress when it passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) in 2002. The “electioneering communications” disclosure provision of BCRA, which the Supreme Court upheld and is still on the books, says that any “person,” including corporations and labor unions, that spends more than $10,000 on TV and radio ads mentioning candidates in close proximity to elections must file a report with the FEC disclosing the names and addresses of all contributors who contributed $1,000 or more to the person making the ad buy.     

The statement urges the Rules Committee to expeditiously send the DISCLOSE Act to the full Senate and to vigorously oppose efforts to weaken the legislation in order to bring disclosure regulations in line with current law and in keeping with U.S. Supreme Court rulings calling for complete disclosure of political spending in order to safeguard the integrity of the nation’s elections. 

To read the full statement, click here.