Disclose 2012

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Elected Office


  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (1/17/2012)

"Right now we want to disclose...where is this money coming from...Reform the system and then try to amend the constitution to change the ridiculous notion that any and all kinds of money can weigh into...campaigns"

“It’s simple—any company that is paid with taxpayer dollars should be required to disclose political contributions,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, who has pushed for the White House to issue the order. “With public dollars come public responsibilities, and I hope President Obama will issue his executive order right away.”

"We're in this brave new world in which any group can spend anything with abandon, and often with no accounting," says U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. All of it is enough for Mr. Durbin, a longtime campaign finance reformer, to say he'd "entertain" legislation that at least would require disclosure of donors, without any limits on what they can spend.

"The spectacle of the super-PACs has been an indelible lesson for the American public in that extent to which money and often anonymous money is beginning to dominate the voices of American individuals in our elections."


  • Former Governor Mike Huckabee (1/3/2012)

And I think one of the worst things that ever happened in American politics is the rise of the independent expenditure groups that really don’t have accountability. You don’t know where this money is coming from. You don’t know where the accountability is coming from, and the candidates have no coordination. […]

I wish that every person who gives any money [to fund an ad] that mentions any candidate by name would have to put their name on it and be held responsible and accountable for it. And its killing any sense of civility in politics because the cheap shots that can be made from the trees by snipers that you never can identify. It’s just the worst part of this process.

  • Former Governor Tom Ridge & Jon Huntsman (1/5/2012)

"I've talked to Jon about this and he and I are like-minded," said Ridge. "He has a modest super PAC [supporting him]. I have felt for the longest time, it is very unlikely that the Supreme Court of the United States would put financial limits on free speech. But I think it is within the power of the president and the Congress to say: 'Guess what? Any contribution in excess of $500 to $1,000 to you personally or the super PAC, it is on the Internet within 24 hours, so people can know.' Not quarterly. Transparency now, it is the best antiseptic."

"In a 21st century world, if anybody wants to give a candidate one million or two million dollars, give it. But I want every journalist, every opponent, every taxpayer, every citizen to know that that's who gave it," said Ridge. "They may draw no conclusions. They may draw the wrong conclusion. They may draw the right conclusion."

"I asked Jon if he had thought about it," Ridge added. "He said, 'I'm there.'"

Q: As a result of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, (corporations) can pour essentially unlimited amounts of money into election coffers. What can Congress do to address that?

A: I would prefer to take all that money out -- from corporations, from unions, from these super PACs. Get rid of it all. Take it away. It goes on both sides and I don't think it's healthy campaigning. What did we see in the recalls? Crazy ads coming from different organizations you've never heard of. And unless you have a constitutional amendment -- which, those are pretty tough to do, I don't know that that's going to happen -- you have a free speech issue.

Q: Is a constitutional amendment in principle an idea you'd be open to?

A: Absolutely. But it has to be fair to everybody.


  • Follow the Campaign Money, Pass DISCLOSE Act (6/10/2012)

"Secret funding in elections is dangerous to a democracy. A new Washington Post report shows that nearly all of the independent advertising being aired for the 2012 general-election campaign has come from interest groups that do not disclose their donors."

  • Republicans Support 'Disclose' Act... Next Year (4/26/2012)

“There is greater receptivity to [Disclose Act], but to pass it in the heat of battle, as it were, is not something that’s going to happen. Nor is it wise to do so,” GA Rep. Tom Price said at a policy breakfast sponsored by National Journal and United Technologies. “This cycle I think will be seen by historians as an aberration [because of Citizens United]. I think there will be a significant push on both sides of the aisle, and appropriately so, in the next Congress to have some significant reform that will allow for greater accountability.”

"In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on Friday, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell claimed that the authors of the proposed DISCLOSE Act, which would strengthen disclosure requirements for political expenditures, are part of an 'effort by the government itself to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation.'"

  • Senate Dems Push 'Disclose Act 2.0' (3/21/2012)

"The new version of the Disclose Act would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on election ads, or any other political activity, to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 24 hours. Groups would also have to file a new report for each additional $10,000 spent, disclose donors who gave $10,000 or more and provide a statement from the group’s head ratifying that there was no coordination with any campaign, which is illegal."

  • Democracy 21 Summary of DISCLOSE Act of 2012 (3/2//2012)

"A 'campaign-related disbursement' includes (1) an independent expenditure, which is defined to include any public communication that contains express advocacy or the functional equivalent of express advocacy, (2) an electioneering communication, which is defined to include any broadcast ad which refers to a federal candidate and is broadcast anytime after January 1 of the election year (in the case of a congressional candidate), or in the period beginning 120 days prior to the first primary or caucus in any State until the date of the general election (in the case of a presidential candidate), or (3) a 'covered transfer.'"

  • Sunlight on Secret Donations (2/2/2012)

"[DISCLOSE 2012 Act] is desperately needed legislation, yet so far no Republicans have come forward to support or sponsor it. Republicans, who are reaping the lion’s share of the new unlimited donations, used to support disclosure laws. In 2000, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, even said, 'Republicans are in favor of disclosure.' Not anymore. Polls show the public supports disclosure as a way to fight political corruption. Any candidate who resists this common-sense bill deserves to be defeated.

  • Money Makes the Campaigns Go Round, and Round (3/21/2012)

"The DISCLOSE Act will make anonymity more difficult. Pretty much any organization—including a 501(c)4—that spends $10,000 or more on campaign-related services during an election cycle must file a disclosure report to the F.E.C. within 24 hours. This report must provide the names of all donors who gave at the 10K-level or higher. The legislation also includes disclaimer requirements. If DISCLOSE passes in its current form, any group that pays for a political ad will have to list its top five funders (for TV) or top two (for radio). What’s perhaps most gratifying is that the head of the organization will have to 'approve the message' at the end of the spot. It’s just possible that this forced publicity will work as a deterrent."

  • Sunshine for the Super PAC: The Disclose Act Would Eliminate Anonymous Donors (4/5/2012)

"Since Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, the Supreme Court has upheld campaign-related disclosure requirements in the interest of deterring corruption. In Citizens United v. FEC, Justice Kennedy wrote that disclosure is 'justified by a government interest in providing the electorate with information about election related spending sources.'  Even when this Supreme Court reversed decades of campaign finance jurisprudence, it recognized the value of open information in the campaign finance system.  Senator Whitehouse’s DISCLOSE Act can’t undo Citizen’s United, and Crossroads may very well spend $240,000,000 in 2012.  Yet it would close the 501(c)4 anonymity loophole, and stop anonymous donors. Now that the floodgates are open, it could not be more critical to pass the DISCLOSE Act and restore institutional disclosure in our democracy."

"Q.  Will candidates benefit from the DISCLOSE Act?

A.  Candidates also benefit from disclosure of the sources of independent expenditures. There is a danger that the candidates’ own voices will be drowned out by huge outside spending, and that a last-minute onslaught of untrue charges from secret spenders will alter the outcome of an election without the candidate being able to challenge the sources or to hold them accountable in any way."

Sunlight Blogs

  • House Democrats Introduce Disclose 2012 (2/9/2012)
  • Sunlight Responds to Disclose Act Reintroduction (2/9/2012)
  • Congress Should Pass the Disclose Act Now (2/24/2012)
  • Transparency is Antidote to Dark Money this Election (3/13/2012)