Today, U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) sent the following letter to the five organizations that recently urged him to support the DISCLOSE Act, the campaign finance bill which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives:
Dear Members of the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, and Public Citizen:
Thank you for your letter in which you urge me to support the DISCLOSE Act. As stated in your letter, my election to the U.S. Senate sent a message that the American people are tired of the politics-as-usual mentality, and want to restore real checks and balances in Washington. Unfortunately, the DISCLOSE Act does not do enough to require transparency, accountability and fair play. Therefore, I cannot support the DISCLOSE Act.
Rather than reform our campaign finance laws and provide increased transparency, the DISCLOSE Act advances the political agenda of the majority party and special interests in an effort to gain a tactical and political advantage little more than 100 days before an election. No matter how one feels about McCain-Feingold, at least that was an honest attempt to reform campaign finance laws that would not have gone into effect until after the next election cycle. The DISCLOSE Act does the opposite -- it changes the rules in the middle of the game to provide a tactical advantage to the majority party.
Even more astonishing, this bill does not treat all organizations equally and does not apply to everyone. For example, not all the disclosure requirements apply to labor unions and other special interest groups -- despite these groups being among the most active political organizations. Labor unions and their political action committees spent more than $450 million to help their allies in 2008, and they have already pledged to spend upwards of $100 million in the midterms. Yet they would be carved out of this legislation and not face the same regulations that would apply to everyone else.
A genuine campaign finance reform effort would include increased transparency, accountability and would provide a level playing field to everyone.
Furthermore, this bill is being pushed when our country has almost double digit unemployment. We must return our focus to job creation.
I understand that your five groups support this legislation, and I respect your opinion, but more than 450 other groups from across the political spectrum -- ranging from such ideological opposites as the National Right to Life Committee and the ACLU -- oppose this bill. They recognize that it is based on partisan politics instead of sound policy. I could not agree more. When dealing with rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, we should look to adopt a higher standard than the one in this bill. The American people expect and deserve better.
U.S. Senator Scott Brown