The New DISCLOSE Act Bill is Much Better than the Old DISCLOSE Act

You can find the text of Rep. van Hollen’s house bill here. (I’m not sure if there is a Senate bill introduced yet, and if there is, if there are differences).  Here’s what’s better about this year’s model:

1. The bill only deals with disclosure.  The last time through, the Democrats tried to lard up the bill with a partial reversal of Citizens United which would have barred certain corporations from spending money on elections.  (Those provisions were of dubious constitutionality.)  Much of the Republican opposition last time, at least in rhetoric, centered on these provisions.

2. The bill requires disclosure of the top five spenders on tv ads, and top two spenders on radio ads, with some exceptions.  This is modeled after California’s rules for ballot measure disclosure, and it works very well in CA.  (I haven’t examined the new bill in any detail to see how loophole-proof it might be.)

3. As to certain Internet campaign ads, there’s a new requirement to hyperlink to relevant disclosures.  Brilliant and just what the doctor ordered, especially for shorter ads on social media.

Now let’s see if there can be any movement on this (not holding my breath, but hope springs eternal).

UPDATE: Here’s a redline of the old and new bills.


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