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Thursday, April 29, 2010

 11:19 AM 

Feingold, Senate Dems unveil legislative response to Citizens United

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold of Middleton joined a coalition of Dem Senators in unveiling the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act Thursday.

The legislation -- crafted with the Obama administration in response to the controversial Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision -- aims to increase disclosure of campaign spending by corporate interests. The Citizens United decision struck down a long-standing federal law prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United was a tragic error. While the core of the McCain-Feingold law was left intact, the results of the decision are far reaching, giving big corporations greater power to sway elections and drown out the voices of average Americans," Feingold said in a statement. "While no bill can reverse the Court’s mistake, we need to make sure that the public can follow the money and see exactly who is behind the onslaught of political advertising that the decision has unleashed."

Backers say the bill would, in part, mandate that the leader of an organization sponsoring political advertisements to appear in the ads themselves, establish campaign accounts and reporting requirements for groups making political expenditures, and require that candidates who are attacked in ads can respond on the air by allowing them to purchase air time at the lowest possible rate in particular media markets.

In a statement responding to the bill, President Obama said, "I have long believed that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and this legislation will shine an unprecedented light on corporate spending in political campaigns."


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