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Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CASTLE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the DISCLOSE Act. I would like to thank Mr. Van Hollen and his office for their work on this as well.

I believe that this is relatively simple. I think that all of us in this country have a right to know who is putting forth ads for or against candidates as the campaigns run on. We do that as elected officials. The political parties do that. We also file all those who contribute money to us above certain amounts, and that I believe also should be done.

This act that we are trying to pass basically is one of transparency. You can call it DISCLOSE, whatever you wish; but it basically indicates that foreign corporations cannot spend dollars in U.S. elections, and Federal contractors cannot get involved. But those who can, the corporations, unions, not-for-profits, must disclose who is paying for it in terms of the CEO coming forward and major contributors being posted so that people know who is paying for it.

It does not limit what they can say. I do not believe it's in any way a violation of the First Amendment as has been stated here on repeated occasions.

I will be the first to tell you I do not like the manager's amendment that was in the rule with respect to the exemptions for certain entities--not because there's anything wrong with the entities--but my judgment is this should be applicable to everybody who would fall into these categories. Perhaps that will be fixed in the Senate.

But the bottom line is, this is a disclosure act so that the people of this country will know who is advertising. We've all been subjected to it. We've all seen these ads where you wonder just who is running that ad, and now we'll have a pretty good idea. I hope our body will support it.


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