This Monday, July 16, 2012, Senate Republicans once again abused the Senate's filibuster rule to keep the Disclose Act from coming to a vote.
Senate bill S.3369, the "Democracy is strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act of 2012," was brought to the Senate floor by Democrats but blocked in a 51-44 vote in which the Republican minority supported the idea of keeping campaign finances a secret from voters.
The purpose of the bill, more commonly known as the "Disclose Act," is simple: To make campaign contributions more transparent. It asks that any person or organization donating $10,000 or more must be listed as a matter of public record.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calls letting you know who is sliding money into his coffers "an attempt to identify and punish political enemies, or at the very least, intimidate others from participating in the process."
However, as recently as 2010, Mr. McConnell declared that "We need to have real disclosure," this as he led fellow Republicans in another 59-41 filibuster of an earlier version of the Disclose Act.
Perhaps the Minority Leader fears voters might discover that a company which is helping him to kill kids’ access to healthcare might move some not to support that company with their hard earned cash? Mr. McConnell seems to have forgotten that it is he who works for us and not the other way around, that we have every right to know who is funding his campaigns and those of every other elected official. After all, Congress is not a private country club; it is a legislative body answerable to and in existence to serve the people.
The natural conclusions to be drawn from this latest in a flood of Republican filibusters is that Republicans either don't believe we have a right to know who is buying their votes with big contributions, or this is simply another example of Republican obstructionism for political advantage. Either way, Senate Republicans voted unanimously to keep you in the dark.
The amount of money shoveled into the 2012 primary, general, and even the recent Wisconsin recall effort is staggering. The presidential election alone is on the path toward becoming the first $ billion-plus election in history, and we owe it all to the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United (CU) ruling. Five conservative justices ruled that corporations are people, money is speech, and opened the floodgates for virtually limitless Super PAC political funding, much of it secret, some even from foreign sources.
In stating the court’s opinion in Citizens United, which tossed out attempts to keep all large contributions secret, Justice Kennedy said:
“We reject Citizens United's challenge to the disclaimer and disclosure provisions. Those mechanisms provide information to the electorate. The resulting transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers in different messages.”Despite the court’s statement on secrecy, no law exists to require compliance with all contributions. What exists now is a tangle of rules that force disclosure in some cases, not in others, and various timelines in which reporting must be done. That leaves a great deal of secret money pouring into campaigns, and we have no way to know for certain whether it’s even coming from American sources, or what legislative actions it might purchase.
Senate Republicans voted unanimously against the idea that "Democracy is Strengthened By Casting Light on Spending in Elections."
Republican politicians and pundits frequently act as though they hold sole ownership of our Revolutionary heritage. Every legislative effort they disagree with is labeled “unconstitutional” or “not what the founders would want.” Apparently, this Monday, Republican senators unanimously voted in opposition to these poignant words:
"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."For more than 40 years, the idea that campaign finances should be as transparent as possible allowed the American people to know who was dangling dollars in front of our legislators! It wasn’t a perfect system, but at least there were legal limits and accountability. Citizens United has essentially prostituted our Democracy by allowing corporations and the very wealthy to purchase our elections. This week Senate Republicans voted unanimously to keep us from knowing who is doing the buying. This week Senate Republicans voted unanimously to keep our political process in the shadows.
~ Patrick Henry
Wanda Rohl, our Democratic candidate for Congress in the Illinois 16th District not only supports the Disclose Act, she has elected to run her all volunteer campaign entirely on small donations. Wanda believes that as our representative in Washington she should be accountable only to the people of her district and not large corporate and private interests, unlike her corporate-funded Republican opponent.
If you want your representative in The People's House to serve in your best interest and not the fat wallets who fund her opponent Rep. Adam Kinzinger (a favorite of Eric Cantor), your small donations or volunteer efforts will help to prove that we the people can win over money and regain control of our House.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats will try again to bring political contributions out of the shadows. Will Republicans vote again to keep you in the dark? Stay tuned…
Please visit Wanda's campaign web site! Learn more about the issues that concern her, sign up to volunteer, or contribute to this truly grassroots congressional campaign at: Wanda Rohl for Congress
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