After the Senate was blocked for a second time in two days from proceeding to debate on the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act (S. 3369), also known as the DISCLOSE Act, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) gave the following remarks. His full floor statement on this legislation, delivered Monday, is available here.
"Democrats and Republicans used to agree that shining a light on our political process was a good thing. I don't know when that changed, but it isn't for the better. Corporations are not people, but the highest court in the land decided that they should be treated the same when it comes to elections. Citizens United decision will go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. We have an opportunity to take action by passing the DISCLOSE Act. At this point, we can't even debate the bill because Republicans -- many of whom have been on the front lines of transparency efforts for elections -- decided to dig in their heels.
"The Center for Responsive Politics has now said that super PACs and their related organizations have already spent over twice what similar groups spent four years ago. As we get closer to Election Day, what corporations and undisclosed sources can now put into our elections will dwarf what individual contributors have this unleashing of undisclosed corporate funds. The bill we have before us brings needed transparency into the campaign finance system. We clearly have the authority to move at least this modest step forward to allow the American people to see who is making these contributions so they can make an informed judgment on Election Day.
"We owe it to the citizens of this country to take up and pass the DISCLOSE Act. Also, I believe that the only thing we can do to overturn the Citizens United case is to support Senator Tom Udall's constitutional amendment. That amendment gives the Congress the power we thought we had to legislate to protect the integrity of our election system."