Legislation aims to disclose major donors to super PACs

02/22/12 Janelle Irwin
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U.S. Representative Kathy Castor is co-sponsoring a bill that would require funding disclosure for political advertisements by super PACs. At a press conference Wednesday, Castor called the unlimited contributions an outrage.

The bill has been named the DISCLOSE Act. It won’t limit political campaign contributions into super PACs, but it will require disclosure of the top three donors over $10,000. Castor said it’s a step in the right direction to regaining political fairness.

“It would require real-time reporting. So, if someone wanted to find out – well, that’s an awful ad, I don’t believe that’s true – they could find out who is responsible and often times it’s a significant corporate interest or special interest that right now is not being identified and should be.”

The bill in the U.S. House is a response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling two years ago. That decision reinforced that money could be used as speech and is thus, protected by the First Amendment. It’s what allows donors who would otherwise have a $2500 limit to drop millions into what some are calling political slush funds. Castor hopes the controversial ruling will be overturned.

“I hope they’re looking very closely at the consequences because this is not a First Amendment right to corrupt the political process.”

The DISCLOSE Act passed in the U.S. House last year, but was shot down by the Senate. House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is hoping rejuvenated support from non-governmental agencies will bring life back into the initiative.

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