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Senate Dems push FEC to toughen super-PAC rules

“Such contributions would be illegal if given directly to the candidate, and disclosure is crucial to discern whether these organizations are truly independent actors.”

The senators wrote the FEC in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking that would clarify the implications of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the door to unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions.

The senators noted that, while the Supreme Court overturned the funding limits for independent expenditures and electioneering communications, it also “upheld all requirements related to disclaimers and disclosures.”

“The influx of money in this election cycle makes disclosure and disclaimer regulations absolutely essential to preserving free and fair elections,” the senators wrote. “There is no decision more fundamental to our democracy than voters choosing which candidate will best represent their interests in government.

“We believe that the American people should have timely access to relevant information as they evaluate candidates in local and federal elections, including who is paying for political advertisements.” 

Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Al Franken (Minn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), along with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who caucuses with the Democrats, signed the letter.

Final comments for the proposed rule were due Feb.17. There will be a public hearing March 7 on the proposed rule “and any modifications or amendments thereto that may be proposed.”

The notice of proposed rulemaking, published in the Federal Register in late December, is titled “Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications by Corporations and Labor Organizations.”

Tags Al Franken Barbara Boxer Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Jeanne Shaheen Jeff Merkley Kirsten Gillibrand Michael Bennet Sheldon Whitehouse Sherrod Brown Tom Udall

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