Keith Olbermann talked to Sen. Clair McCaskill about the need to pass the Disclose Act after seeing the flood of anonymous corporate donations coming in for Republicans during this mid-term election cycle. I'm quite sure neither Karl Rove or Ed Gillespie would like to see this bill passed. They want to keep their corporate funders anonymous so we've got no idea who is backing their candidates. Heaven forbid the public might give those campaign ads the scrutiny they deserve if they were allowed to know who's paying for them.
In response to January's unprecedented Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that struck down longstanding limitations on campaign contributions from special interests, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill yesterday signed on to co-sponsor legislation that would force corporations to be transparent about their now unfettered political donations and further ban political contributions from foreign corporations and government contractors. The Citizens United decision overturned the law banning independent political ads sponsored by private corporations and unions.
"If special interests are pouring money into political campaigns we need to at least make sure we know where the money is coming from and who is behind the curtain," McCaskill said.
The legislation, introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), would require corporations, unions and other organizations that make political expenditures to disclose their donors and be held accountable for any ads they sponsor. It would also ban contributions from foreign-controlled corporations, government contractors and companies that have received government assistance.
Specifically, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (or DISCLOSE) Act would bring more accountability and transparency to corporate campaign contributions by:
• Banning contributions from foreign-controlled corporations, government contractors and companies that have received government assistance.
• Requiring the head of any organization sponsoring an ad to appear during the ad - similar to the way that political candidates for federal office must appear in their campaign ads. For special interest ads that are funded by multiple organizations, the top five donors would have to be identified as sponsors during the advertisement.
• Requiring corporations and advocacy groups to track political contributions through transparent accounts and to report any donations over $1000 and expenditures from these accounts to the Federal Election Commission and to the public within 24 hours. If an organization chooses not to set up these accounts, all of their donors, even those who aren't political, would have to be made public.
• Guaranteeing that candidates can purchase air time at the lowest possible rate in the same media markets where attack ads are aired, strengthening a candidate's ability to respond to corporate interests' attacks.
• Prohibiting corporations from coordinating political activities with candidates. A similar ban already exists for public entities and unions.
For a more complete summary of the bill click here.