Reid: Lack of campaign finance reform turns US over to ‘angry, old white men’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned Monday afternoon that if Congress fails to limit campaign donations from the wealthy, a group of “angry, old white men” with billions of dollars to contribute will be able to determine political outcomes in the United States.

Reid’s remarks on the Senate floor set up a vote later in the day on the Disclose Act, which would require companies and groups to report all campaign spending above $10,000. He said Republicans were expected to prevent consideration of the bill.

“Their newfound opposition to transparency makes one wonder who they’re trying to protect,” Reid said. He then offered the theory that Republicans do not want voters to learn about how they are sourced, and indicated that GOP money comes from a few wealthy contributors.

{mosads}”Perhaps Republicans want to shield a handful of billionaires willing to contribute nine figures to sway a close presidential election,” he said. “If this flood of outside money continues, the day after the election, 17 angry, old white men will wake up and realize they just bought the country.”

The Disclose Act is a reaction to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which said the government cannot limit campaign spending by corporations, unions or other groups. Democrats have sought to temper that ruling by requiring these groups to publicly report their campaign spending.

The bill to be voted on Monday would require groups to report every $10,000 in campaign spending within 24 hours.

Reid reiterated Democratic opposition to the Supreme Court ruling, and said it has opened a flood of campaign spending from the wealthy that could skew election results. He also said some of this spending is done by groups with “questionable motives.”

“Democrats and a majority of Americans got it very very very wrong with Citizens United,” Reid said. “Anonymous spending by so-called non-profits, often backed by huge corporate donors or a few wealthy individuals, used to make up 1 percent of election spending.

“This year it’ll make up over half the spending.”

Reid also sought to deflect GOP criticism of the bill, S. 3369, by rejecting their argument that the bill would require groups to turn over member lists to the government. “That is foolishness,” Reid said.

Tags Harry Reid

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