Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. co-sponsored the DISCLOSE Act that passed the House of Representatives with bi-partisan support today. The DISCLOSE Act will prevent powerful corporate interests from controlling our federal elections.
"A recent Supreme Court decision handed over our republic to big corporations and other powerful special interests," said Dr. Kagen, "and this bill puts "We the People' back in control."
The DISCLOSE Act requires corporations, organizations, and special interest groups to stand by their political advertising just like a candidate for office does. It will stop Wall Street, Big Oil, and U.S. corporations controlled by foreign -- or even hostile -- governments from secretly manipulating elections by pouring money into front groups that run last minute attack ads and other anonymous election advertisements.
"Corporations should not be involved in controlling either our government or our free elections. Voters have a right to know exactly who is funneling millions of dollars into elections in Wisconsin," continued Kagen. "The DISCLOSE Act will help guarantee that our elections remain honest and transparent by making it illegal for Wall Street-run corporations to create shadow organizations with hidden agendas to control and influence federal elections."
According to the new bill, CEOs must identify themselves in all of their advertisements, and corporations and organizations will be required to disclose their political expenditures. The bill also prohibits entities that receive taxpayer money -- such as large government contractors and corporations receiving TARP bailout funds -- from turning around and spending that money to influence elections.
This landmark bill is the most far-reaching and significant campaign finance reform law since the McCain-Feingold Act, and does more to strengthen disclosure and transparency than any measure in recent history. It has been subject to extensive bipartisan debate, including six public hearings, and contains both Democratic and Republican amendments. The DISCLOSE Act has strong support from the campaign finance reform community and been endorsed by Common Cause, League of Women Voters, Public Citizen, Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and Democracy 21, among many other organizations.