President Obama this afternoon urged the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which it begins debate on today. The president said the transparency bill was a necessary response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC:
Because of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in the Citizens United case, big corporations –- even foreign-controlled ones –- are now allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on American elections. They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads –- and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who’s actually paying for the ads. Instead, a group can hide behind a name like “Citizens for a Better Future,” even if a more accurate name would be “Companies for Weaker Oversight.” These shadow groups are already forming and building war chests of tens of millions of dollars to influence the fall elections.
He also had harsh words for the Senate Republican leadership, who have been working against the passage of DISCLOSE:
At a time of such challenge for America, we can’t afford these political games. Millions of Americans are struggling to get by, and their voices shouldn’t be drowned out by millions of dollars in secret special interest adverting. The American people’s voices should be heard. A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than a vote to allow a corporate and special interest takeover of our elections.
The DISCLOSE Act would requiring prompt and full disclosure of corporate campaign expenditures and prevent campaign spending by government contractors, TARP fund recipients, and foreign-controlled corporate subsidiaries.
Earlier today, PFAW executive vice president Marge Baker called DISCLOSE “a necessary and urgent step” towards dampening the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.
You can watch the president’s remarks here: