The Campaign Finance Reform Argument Revived

This week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is introducing a new campaign finance bill. According to Politico, “the legislation, as in previous versions, would require super PACs, nonprofits, corporations, and unions that spend money in elections to disclose donors that have given $10,000 or more each time they spend at least $10,000 on political activity. The bill would also prohibit domestic corporations under foreign control from spending money in elections and force shell companies to make their funders public.”

Two years ago, Senator Whitehouse’s website posted an article on the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The website claims it was a “disastrous decision, which opened the floodgates for unlimited, secret spending in American elections.” It goes on to explain the DISCLOSE Act, which would require political groups to disclose where their money is coming from. The DISCLOSE Act would require any organization which spent over $10,000 during an election cycle to file a report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours.

This week’s act is an updated version of the DISCLOSE Act. The full bill can be found here. However, campaign finance reform has not been on the radar of Washington elite in some time. Whitehouse and his backers will have to work hard to have the bill get any attention, especially before August recess. Most Senators are far more concerned with healthcare at the moment. Shortly after Citizens United, the media was flooded with articles such as one Time magazine article which grappled with the topic of whether money can buy power.

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