Mitch McConnell’s disclosure flip-flop

Updated
By Zaid A. Jilani

On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute where he endorsed not just allowing unlimited spending in elections, but also letting big donors to keep their identity secret. In support of this view, McConnell, as he has done before, described campaign spending as a form of speech, suggesting that limits on spending contravene the First Amendment. 

Former DNC chairman Howard Dean joined msnbc host Ed Schultz Monday to discuss McConnell’s radical support for unlimited secret money in America’s elections.

“You couldn’t find very many tea party people who agree with Senator McConnell,” said Dean. “The fact of the matter is, this is bad for America and McConnell has put his party ahead of his country.” 

Indeed, there is widespread and bipartisan concern about the growing role of money in American politics. A New York Times/CBS News poll released in October 2010 found that 92% of Americans think “that campaigns be required by law to disclose how much money they have raised, where that money came from, and how they have spent it.”

But don’t take our word for it. Take the word of a senior Republican lawmaker, who said this: “We need to have real disclosure. And so what we ought to do is broaden the disclosure to include at least labor unions and tax-exempt business associations and trial lawyers so that you include the major political players in America. Why would a little disclosure be better than a lot of disclosure?

Those words come from none other than Mitch McConnell himself in April of 2010. 

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Mitch McConnell's disclosure flip-flop

Updated