Today was the day of the Senate Rules Committee hearing on the Senate’s version of the DISCLOSE Act. You can find a link to the webcast here, and it should eventually be on C-SPAN as well. Here are links to my testimony, Fred Wertheimer’s testimony, and David Keating’s testimony. (Additional written testimony from the Brennan Center, Campaign Legal Center, Public Citizen, and Sunlight Foundation.)
On my way into the Russell Senate Office Building today, I passed Senators McCain and Levin. I was tempted to stop Sen. McCain and ask him if he’s going to support DISCLOSE. After all, he just lambasted secret money in elections and has reflected on problems with his signature legislation, McCain-Feingold, in the wake of Citizens United and the tenth anniversary of the legislation. This morning’s NY Times editorial also asked: “Republicans once identified with good government have an opportunity right now to reach across the aisle — before that scandal breaks. Senator McCain?”
It would be an accomplishment for the Senate to pass DISCLOSE, even if it faces a very serious uphill battle in the House this time around. I also hope that campaign reform groups not only continue their fight against secret 501c4 money in the IRS, but that they take their battle to the FEC as well. As I explain in my testimony, some of these groups appear to be violating FECA by failing to register as political committees. I don’t expect the obstructionist Republican FEC commissioners to reach that conclusion, but at least the issues will remain in the public spotlight until the political momentum to restore effective disclosure is unstoppable.
This is an issue which is not going to go away, as every day brings more stories of ever larger amounts of money used to influence our elections which are not disclosed ever, or not disclosed until well after the election.
More details about how we got here, how to fix it, and why disclosure is important, in my testimony.