Updated DISCLOSE Act would shine a light on special interests corrupting American politics and drowning out Americans’ voices
Senators to Blunt: ‘The DISCLOSE Act of 2018 offers a commonsense solution to restore transparency and accountability into our political system’
Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) to call for a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act, legislation to shine a light on unlimited secret spending in American elections. Whitehouse has led all Senate Democrats in introducing the legislation while similar legislation was introduced in the House. Despite strong support for the legislation and numerous improvements, the Rules Committee has not held a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act since 2014. With the Senate set to spend August in Washington, it is time for the Rules Committee to take up the important legislation and end the “tsunami of slime” flooding our elections, the senators write.
“Americans feel that the sea of anonymous dark money drowns out their voices in Washington and moves them to the margins of our political arena,” write the senators. “According to a 2014 poll, just 11% of Democratic voters and 15% of Republican voters believe constituents have the most influence on how a member of Congress votes. Instead, they believe special interest groups, lobbyists, and campaign contributors have the most say over Member priorities. Their concerns may not be misplaced. A Princeton University study that analyzed Senate voting records on a host of economic and social issues confirmed that ‘[i]n every instance, senators appear to be much more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of constituents with modest incomes.’”
The senators continue, “The Rules Committee last held a hearing on DISCLOSE in 2014. Since that time, the problem of dark money and undisclosed influence has only gotten worse. The DISCLOSE Act of 2018 offers a commonsense solution to restore transparency and accountability into our political system. With the Senate now in session through most of the summer, there is ample opportunity for the Rules Committee to examine the merits of this important legislation. The problem is too big to ignore.”
According to a bipartisan poll commissioned by the George W. Bush Institute, more than three in four Americans think that “the laws enacted by our national government these days mostly reflect what powerful special interests and their lobbyists want.” The survey found that 55 percent of Americans see democracy as “weak” and 68 percent believe it is “getting weaker.”
Full text of the senators’ letter is available here.