Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Chuck Schumer and Senators Sherrod Brown and Jeff Merkley held a press conference earlier today to discuss Democrats’ efforts to prevent corporations, foreign governments, and secretive special interests from buying our elections. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision opened the door for more than $400 million in shadowy, loosely-regulated spending by corporations to influence American elections, and Democrats are urging Republicans to join them in passing the DISCLOSE Act to ensure we have the sunlight and transparency we need to stop this unregulated corporate money from drowning out the voices of American voters.
“This issue is even more salient than it was over the summer because the public is under siege right now by advertising from shadowy special-interest groups,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “Americans want to know who is behind these ads, and efforts to keep the source of this funding hidden will not go unnoticed by them. This bill will not silence anyone’s right to free speech. We merely want the American public to have details about who is trying to influence their vote.”
“Our democracy is based on the power of a single person walking into a ballot box and casting a vote,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “We don’t live in a shareholder democracy where $10 million corporate ad buys effectively drown out the five, ten, and twenty dollar donations that represent real people with real concerns. That’s why the DISCLOSE Act is so important. By enabling citizens to see behind the curtain, the DISCLOSE Act would ensure everyday Americans are not left in the dark.”
“The Citizens United decision is a dagger pointed at the heart of democracy,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “Now, secret campaign contributions from corporations are jeopardizing government by and for the people. The DISCLOSE Act would let the American people know who is behind the ads they see on television so they can decide for themselves what to believe. There’s no place in democracy for secret efforts by massive corporations and foreign interests to buy our elections.”