NEW: Cicilline Pushing for More Campaign Finance Disclosure
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Today, Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) took action to clean up secret money in politics when he joined his colleagues in cosponsoring the DISCLOSE 2012 Act, H.R. 4010.
“Washington is broken,” said Cicilline. “In order to fix what’s wrong with our economy and put middle class families back to work, we first need to fix what’s wrong with Washington and shine a light on the link between money and politics.”
During his first year in Congress, Cicilline also introduced H.R. 3491, a bill to impose a lifetime ban on former Members of Congress from engaging in lobbying contacts with covered executive branch officials, or any Member, officer, or employee of the House or Senate. Violators would be subject to penalties of up to $50,000 in fines and a year in prison.
The DISCLOSE 2012 Act which requires disclosure of the corporate and special interest money in politics is sponsored by Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congressman Robert Brady (D-PA). The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to unrestricted special interest campaign spending in American elections—permitting corporations to spend unlimited funds, directly or through third parties and Political Action Committees organized for those purposes, to influence federal elections and opened the door for the emergence of Super PACs.
“Middle class families deserve a government that works for them and not for the special interests,” added Cicilline. “Rhode Islanders should know which people and organizations are spending funds to influence our political process.”
To shine the light on this money in politics, the DISCLOSE 2012 Act will:
· Require public reporting by corporations, unions, Super PACs and other outside groups to the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditure or transferring funds to other groups for campaign-related activity (of $10,000 or more).
· Require corporations and other outside groups to stand by their campaign ads -- with their leader and top financial contributors disclosed in the ads.
· Require corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to shareholders and organization members.
· Require lobbyists to disclose campaign-related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.
In the last two years, Super PACs raised about $181 million— with roughly half of it coming from fewer than 200 super-rich people and roughly 20% from corporations. The bill is supported by organizations dedicated to government reform including Common Cause, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen.