Monday, November 22, 2010

Full Disclosure | a letter from my US senator about the DISCLOSE Act

Dear Mr. Hancock:

Thank you for writing to me to express your support for the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I share your support for the goals of this bill.

I believe that it is of the utmost importance that we do not allow corporate money to disproportionately influence our elections.

As you may know, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court reversed a century-old law and overruled decades of legal precedent when it decided that corporations cannot be restricted from spending unlimited amounts in federal elections.

The decision was astounding, not just because it was a gross display of judicial activism, but because it defies common sense for the Supreme Court to conclude that corporations are citizens, as you and I are, in the eyes of the law.  Many corporations make enormous contributions to our society, but they are not people.

The DISCLOSE Act would lessen the harmful effects of the Court's ruling by prohibiting government contractors, foreign corporations, and companies that have received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds from making political contributions.

This legislation would also prevent corporations, unions, and other organizations from coordinating campaign expenditures with political parties or candidates.  It would establish tough new rules for reporting campaign spending in a timely manner so that the public can see exactly what organizations are spending on political activities.

In addition, the DISCLOSE Act would require corporations and unions to disclose their donors and stand by their political ads just as candidates do. It would also prohibit organizations from spending funds from donors who specify their donations not be used for political purposes.

On September 23, 2010, the Senate minority blocked a motion to proceed to the DISCLOSE Act, thereby preventing the Senate from considering this important bill.  Be assured that I will keep working to ensure that corporations do not drown out the voice of the people.

Thank you again for writing to me.  Please feel free to contact me in the future about this or any other issue of concern to you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

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