PAWTUCKET – Continuing his commitment to champion campaign finance reform, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) today announced the introduction of the Disclosure of Information on Spending on Campaigns Leads to Open and Secure Elections (DISCLOSE) Act of 2017 (H.R. 1134).
“Since 2010, corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in secret to send more Republicans to Washington. This broken system has empowered anti-worker, pro-Wall Street candidates. It’s time for the American people to rise up and fight back,” said Cicilline. “I’m grateful that so many of my colleagues are joining me in this effort today. Secret political spending by corporations is destructive to the interests of working families. The American people have a right to know how powerful, multinational corporations are spending their money to influence the political process.”
Seven years ago, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the floodgates to unrestricted special interest campaign spending in American elections—permitting corporations to spend unlimited funds, directly or through third parties and Political Action Committees organized for those purposes, to influence federal elections and opened the door for the emergence of Super PACs.
The DISCLOSE Act of 2017 will help fix this broken system. Cicilline’s bill shine the light on secret money in political elections by enhancing public reporting requirement by corporations and outside campaign groups. The DISCLOSE Act of 2017 will take power away from corporations and special interests and give it back to the American people, by requiring:
· Public reporting by corporations, unions, Super PACs and other outside groups to the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditure or transferring funds to other groups for campaign-related activity (of $10,000 or more);
· Corporations and other outside groups to stand by their campaign ads -- with their leader and top financial contributors disclosed in the ads;
· Corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to shareholders and organization members;
· Lobbyists to disclose campaign-related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.
Since Citizens United, secret spending in campaigns has skyrocketed. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside groups spent nearly $1.5 billion on the 2016 election and $1 billion during the 2012 cycle. Super PAC spending nearly doubled over the same time period, going from $609 million in 2012 to $1.1 billion in 2016.
The DISCLOSE Act of 2017 is co-sponsored by 115 Democrats in the U.S. House. The bill has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary, House Administration, and Ways and Means. Cicilline is a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.