Vote Should Jumpstart Negotiations on the DISCLOSE Act: Statement of Meredith McGehee, Policy Director


S. 3628, the revised DISCLOSE Act introduced by Sen. Schumer last week, deserved to move forward today.  The bill, while not perfect, is fair, appropriate and urgently needed. But, not surprisingly, partisan politics trumped the public interest when the Senate broke along party lines and failed to achieve cloture.

Public polling has consistently shown that by an overwhelming margin Americans disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United and expect a legislative response from the elected representatives in Washington.  Those of us who live in states and districts with competitive races will soon have daily reminders – in the form of ads on our television screens -- about just how much money the Supreme Court’s decision unleashed on our elections.  We won’t know much about where the money is coming from or how much as been laundered through third party groups.  And what we see on TV will likely just be the tip of the iceberg of independent spending to influence the outcome of November’s elections.  That’s why the DISCLOSE Act is needed.

While it is too late now to stop the flood of anonymous ads for this year’s elections, this vote will hopefully jumpstart negotiations to put the DISCLOSE Act on the path to enactment.  The bill has been the subject of an effective yet misleading disinformation campaign.  We remain hopeful that negotiations will continue to between both parties to pass this legislation before we find ourselves in the midst of a presidential race when the stakes will be even higher and the anonymous checks even bigger.   In particular we hold out hope that Senators who voted for passage of the McCain-Feingold Act will reconsider their opposition and return to the negotiating table in good faith to return some semblance of accountability to our elections.