Senate Dems to Reintroduce DISCLOSE Act


Thirty five Senate Democrats are reintroducing the DISCLOSE Act. That is the bill that would require enhanced disclosures of the funding of Super PACS, including identifying those backers in on-air political ads.

The bill, introduced in the Senate in 2010, was a response to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United to allow direct corporate and union funding of electioneering ads -- ones that advocate for or against specific candidates rather than issues -- in federal elections.

It was killed by Senate Republicans.

A House version was reintroduced by Democrats there last month.

The Sunlight Foundation said Wednesday that, which tracks money in politics, praised the bill's return to the Senate. "We are pleased to see the Senate is aligning with the House on supporting a DISCLOSE Act that goes straight to the problem: the lack of transparency for unlimited, secret super PAC money and the influence it has on our elections and our elected officials," said Sunlight co-founder Ellen Miller in a statement.

Like the first DISCLOSE Act, the new version would require TV ads to identify the actual funders, rather than simply the PAC name, and would require individual funders or the CEOs of corporations, to appear onscreen, as candidates have to do at the end of campaign ads.

Lobbyists will also be required to report their spending on independent expenditures and electioneering communications.

Broadcasters have First Amendment concerns with such legislation, as well as concerns it could depress political ad spending.

Signing on to the bill are Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Frank Lautenberg, Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Mark Begich (D-Ark.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.),Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).