Republican Opposition Derails DISCLOSE Act; Baucus Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Undo Citizens United

The Senate today failed to end a Republican filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would tighten campaign spending disclosure rules for corporations and unions, and limit which corporations are able to spend money to influence elections. The bill was intended to mitigate the damages of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

After the vote, Sen. Max Baucus announced that he would introduce a Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizens United. A People For the American Way/Hart Research poll in June found that 77% of Americans support such an amendment.

Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:

“Senate Republicans, united in their opposition to openness and accountability in elections, have derailed this urgent, common-sense bill. The DISCLOSE Act, if passed, would lessen the immediate damage of the Supreme Court’s destructive and widely unpopular decision in Citizens United v. FEC. It proposes simple steps towards accountability in elections: strict disclosure requirements for corporate campaign spending, a ban on election spending by foreign-controlled subsidiaries, and steps to prevent pay-for-play deals by government contractors and TARP fund recipients.

“The DISCLOSE Act would be a small, common-sense first step toward undoing the damage of Citizens United. Additional legislation, such as the Shareholder Protection Act, would further ensure that corporate involvement in elections is as transparent as possible. And, in the long run, the only way to fully ensure that corporations can’t buy elections is to pass a Constitutional Amendment reversing Citizens United.

“This fall, the Senate may vote again on the DISCLOSE Act, handing Republicans another opportunity to put themselves on the side of the American people and not big business. But today, members of the GOP showed themselves to be unwilling to support even the smallest step toward government and corporate accountability. In doing so, they stand in opposition to the vast majority of Americans who think that corporations already have too much influence in our elections. The GOP is clearly willing to prevent honest government at all costs—Sen. Baucus is right to defy their obstruction and move toward passing a Constitutional Amendment to return elections to voters.”

Video: Sen. Baucus introduces Constitutional Amendment: http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/294776-2

People For the American Way/Hart Research poll on Citizens United: http://www.pfaw.org/press-releases/2010/06/new-pfaw-poll-shows-americans-want-action-to-correct-citizens-united

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