A bipartisan plan for real-time campaign finance disclosure

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (I- AK) wite an op-ed today in the Washington Post that merits consideration.
Our states vouch for transparent campaign financing
(Excerpt):

In Alaska, Gov. Sean Parnell (R) signed legislation — passed by a
Republican-dominated lower house and a bipartisan Senate — similar to
the U.S. Senate-debated Disclose Act
, which enhances disclosure
requirements for political spending and limits corporations and
political organizations from coordinating with political parties and
candidates. The Corporate Reform Coalition has said that “Alaska gets the prize for the most innovative and far reaching laws adopted since Citizens United
.”

Oregon campaign-finance law has proven that near-immediate
disclosure of contributions is not only possible but preferable. In the
lead-up to Oregon’s elections, campaign committees must report large
contributions within one week. Under federal law, which requires only
quarterly reports, the influx of money immediately before an election is
hidden from the public until months after the votes have been counted.

We
propose combining the best elements of the Alaska and Oregon laws to
create a federal campaign-finance structure that is transparent and
holds everyone immediately accountable. To start the discussion, we have
posted our blueprint on our respective Senate Web sites (www.wyden.senate.gov/campaign-finance-reform and www.murkowski.senate.gov). We are seeking suggestions that will streamline the law, close loopholes and achieve a cleaner, more open process.

Under
our proposal, any organization engaging in federal political activity
of any kind, from candidacy to advocacy, would be required to disclose
their donors in real time. The law would apply to every candidate
running for office and every billionaire hoping to influence an
election. The same rules would apply equally to corporations, nonprofits
and every type of organization in between, so long as they are using
money to try to influence elections, as well as to labor union political
funds and “right to work” organizations.

Along with many Americans, we are uncomfortable with the Citizens United
decision. Unlimited corporate and individual spending is corrosive to
democracy and undermines the political process. But the case has been
decided, and it is our prerogative as legislators to improve on it. What
we, and you, can do is shine a bright light on the system the court
created to ensure accountability for all who attempt to influence the
democratic process. At minimum, the American people deserve to know
before they cast their ballots who is behind massive spending, who is
funding people and organizations, and what their agendas are.

* * *

Congress has failed to take up this charge and ensure that the spending sanctioned by Citizens United
is not cloaked in secrecy and subterfuge. Thoughtful members of both
parties should discuss and agree to a disclosure structure that
addresses all potential avenues of access and abuse and treats everyone
in the political process equally. In other words, one that is fair to
all.

We plan to offer a bipartisan proposal that we hope can serve
as a base from which Congress can finally move forward. We hope that
you will join us in making that proposal a reality so that the American
people are not forced to suffer through another election cycle filled
with anonymous sleaze and innuendo.

Comments are closed.