News release from Sen. Ron Wyden
Washington, D.C. – As the first full election cycle since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling extended personal election rules to corporations, the extent to which corporate influence and that of the Super PACs the ruling inadvertently created is becoming clear. More than ever, election related funds have been collected and spent nearly in secret – distorting the process and further eroding campaign finance protections.
In response to the court ruling, a group of senators including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced legislation to combat the corrosive effects of Citizens United. The DISCLOSE Act includes an extension of the Wyden-authored “Stand by your ad” provision to require leaders of corporations, unions and other organizations to identify that they are behind political ads.
“We’ve all seen the far-reaching effects of the Citizens United ruling on our federal elections and the political discourse surrounding congressional and presidential campaigns,” Wyden said. “What we are asking is that in addition to common sense rules governing the political contributions and expenditures of these groups, we require them to speak up and say that they stand by their ads. If they feel so strongly about the points their ads make they should have no problem putting their faces on it. Our political process thrives when transparency is paramount and ‘Stand by your ad’ ensures that accountability is not lost in our political campaigns.”
Wyden has long championed increased transparency in federal elections and was a primary cosponsor of the DISCLOSE act when it was introduced in the previous Congress as well as a constitutional amendment introduced earlier this year giving Congress the power to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures. He authored the original “Stand by your Ad” provision along with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) as part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
The DISCLOSE Act requires any organization or Super PAC that spends $10,000 or more on a campaign-related activities during an election cycle to report that spending to the FEC within 24 hours and to file a new report for each additional $10,000 spent. It must detail the names of the donors who gave $10,000 or more and must include a certification by the head of the organization that the spending wasn’t coordinated with a candidate campaign.