The League of Women Voters on the DISCLOSE Act

The most important thing we can do to preserve the integrity of our electoral process is to increase transparency and let the sunlight shine in. That is why the League of Women Voters strongly supports the bipartisan DISCLOSE Act, introduced last month by Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

In our view, voters deserve to know the sources of funding for election advertising. Secret money, whether foreign or domestic, has no place in America's democracy. Voters have a right to know - whether it is a corporation, union, trade association, or non-profit advocacy group making unlimited political expenditures and influencing elections. We urgently need enhanced disclosure in the financing of American elections.

The proposed DISCLOSE Act builds on requirements already approved by the Supreme Court. It bars foreign-controlled corporations and those which have received federal bailout money or large government contracts from spending huge amounts trying to elect or defeat particular candidates.

Doesn't it make sense that foreign-controlled corporations shouldn't be turned loose to spend unlimited amounts in American elections? Doesn't it make sense that federal money from bailouts and large contracts shouldn't be recycled to elect or defeat federal candidates for election? These provisions are common sense solutions to the complex problems created by the Court's ruling.

This critical bipartisan campaign finance legislation is fair and equitable, and it ensures voters can make informed decisions. It is landmark progress for transparency in campaign finance - a principle that used to have widespread bipartisan support, although you might never guess that from the opposition to the DISCLOSE Act now being voiced. We applaud Representatives Mike Castle (R-DE) and Walter Jones (R-NC) for co-sponsoring the bill. We hope members in both the House and Senate will agree, and we urge their support of this important legislation.

Elisabeth MacNamara is the President of the League of Women Voters of the United States.