June 24, 2010
Contact: Aaron Hunter 202-225-2040
Congresswoman Susan Davis Votes to Increase Transparency in Political Ads
DISCLOSE Act levels playing field for all politically active groups
Washington – In response to an unpopular Supreme Court ruling overturning decades of campaign finance reform law and policy, Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego) voted to strengthen campaign finance laws and increase transparency. The Democracy is Strengthened by Casting a Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act (H.R 5175) was approved by the House of Representatives on a vote of 219-206.
“Voters want to know: ‘Who’s behind that ad?’ ‘Who stands to gain from it?’ ‘Why isn’t an actual person, corporation, or union taking responsibility for it?’ The DISCLOSE Act will finally put that information in voter’s hands with tough disclosure and disclaimer requirements,” said Davis. “The DISCLOSE Act is just like other consumer protection bills passed by Congress. I can think of no single time I’ve regretted giving my constituents more information, so they can make wise and informed decisions.”
The DISCLOSE Act is intended to even the political playing field so that all politically active groups—corporations, labor unions, 527 social welfare and trade organizations—abide by the same kinds of rules candidates and parties abide by.
H.R. 5175 aims to show the real money behind the ad by requiring the CEO or covered organization’s executive head and top contributor paying for the ad to “stand by the ad” the same way candidates must do with their advertisements. Additionally, the top five contributors to an organization must be listed on the screen.
The bill would require any covered organization to disclose within 24 hours to the FEC its campaign-related activity and transfers of money to other groups which then can be used for campaign-related activity.
During consideration in the House Administration Committee, Davis successfully added an amendment to the DISCLOSE Act to require certain disclosures to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) be filed electronically and posted online right away.
The DISCLOSE Act seeks to ensure that foreign countries and foreign nationals cannot influence our elections through corporate spending. Corporations that are significantly foreign controlled are banned from spending in U.S. elections.
H.R. 5175 prevents tax dollars from not being used to buy favor and influence in Washington. Government contractors with large dollar contracts (more than $10 million) will not be allowed to spend money on campaign ads. Similarly, TARP recipients who have not paid back government funds are also banned from election spending.