Newspaper article Roll Call

Let's Shine a Light on Big Money in Politics

Newspaper article Roll Call

Let's Shine a Light on Big Money in Politics

Article excerpt

The American people are making it clear that they're fed up with a system that gives special treatment to special interests while middle-class families suffer.

Everywhere they look, it's the same story: a tax system that allows multimillion-dollar earners to pay a lower tax rate than a truck driver or janitor; a banking system that allows credit card companies to ignore local laws and charge sky-high interest rates to consumers; and, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, a campaign system that allows corporations and billionaires to spend unlimited amounts of money anonymously in our elections.

It is time to fight back for fairness in our democracy. The "Buffett Rule" legislation would create a fairer tax system by requiring ultra-high income earners to pay a fair share. I've pursued legislation to crack down on unfair credit card rates.

But as this election year marches on, with unprecedented spending by super PACs and other supposedly independent Big Money groups, it's becoming clear that restoring fairness requires fixing our campaign finance system.

That's why more than two dozen Senators are coming together to establish badly needed disclosure rules for political contributions to groups such as super PACs.

The DISCLOSE Act of 2012 would require organizations involved in elections -- including the super PACs and 501(c)(4) groups that have been bombarding our airwaves with negative campaign ads -- to tell the public where they are getting their money on a timely basis.

The legislation would also require that the top executives and biggest donors of these groups "stand by their ads" by appearing in or placing their names on the ads themselves: No more hiding behind shadow organizations with phony names. The American people deserve to know who is really behind these ads and what their motives might be. …

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