Rep. Steve Israel of New York and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) called for the passage of the Disclose Act as a way to eliminate a wealthy few wielding excessive influence over elections.
Referencing the impact of super PACs since the passage of Citizens United, Israel said during Daily Rundown that “voters…have the right to know who’s buying these elections.”
Democrats put together the Disclose Act legislation as a response to the 2010 Citizens United ruling that allows for unlimited spending by corporations and unions on elections. The bill would mandate additional disclosures for groups that pay for election ads. For example, the Senate version of the bill requires that any group spending $10,000 or more on ads or any political activity to file with the Federal Election Commission and adds an “I approve this message” disclaimer from group leaders to campaign ads.
“Look it’s America. People want to make a contribution, go ahead, but people have the right to know who’s making these contributions and, under the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, there are too many instances where one or two, three individuals are beaming into a district that they’ve never been in, that they don’t understand, and writing big checks,” said Israel. “Why even have Congress? Why even have a White House? Why don’t we just let he Koch brothers decide whether we should continue Medicare, extend the Bush tax cuts, whether we should help the middle class? That’s what’s happening in this country. A small group of well-funded political operatives are able to go into these districts without people knowing who they are, and spend anything they want in secret, stealth money, and buy these elections.”
Republicans, and groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have thus far not been supportive of the Disclose Act. They have dismissed it as another politically motivated piece of legislation designed only to silence Democratic opposition, although the rules would apply to both sides.