Today the Democratic Members of the Committee on House Administration posted the video from their forum, "The Most Expensive Seat in the House: The State of Our Campaign Finance System." While Democratic Members of the Committee would have preferred a full hearing, their forum marked the first time any Members of the House have publically questioned experts on campaign finance since 2010.
Four experts on campaign finance laws, corruption, and Congress explained how the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United has changed our campaign finance laws and how Super PACs are now dominating political advertising. The panelists highlighted the need for swift congressional action to prevent the further deterioration of our campaign finance system.
"Millions of dollars in secret, unlimited spending on political advertizing is drowning out the voices of American citizens," said forum Chairman Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX). "We need to shine a light on these practices and let the American people see the tricks and gimmicks by which people and corporations can keep secret the tens of millions of dollars they are spending to influence our elections. I hope this forum will be only the first of many in a lengthy discussion."
"The votes of the many must determine the outcome of our elections, not the bankroll of the privileged few," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "Democrats are working to restore transparency, fairness, and accountability to our political process; together we can create a new politics free from special interests."
"The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in disclosing political contributions," said House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA). "When I was Chairman of the House Administration Committee, we held three separate hearings on this topic. This Republican Congress needs to listen to the voice of the people and hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act."
"The Republicans' refusal to hold a single hearing on the DISCLOSE Act shows that they want to keep the American people in the dark," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D‑MD), "just as they want to keep voters in the dark about who is behind the millions of dollars in campaign ads paid for by special interest groups."
"Something is very wrong when politicians say voters do not have a right to know who is paying for elections," Rep. David Price (D-NC) said. "With Super PAC spending drowning out candidate's actual campaigns, there is no excuse for Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on this issue. As we begin what will be the most expensive presidential campaign in our nation's history, it is clear that further legislation is needed."
"The fact is most Americans are repulsed by secret money manipulating election outcomes for special interests," said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), "Since Americans have called for transparency in political campaigns we should hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act as the next step toward improving openness on this issue."
Despite Republican Leadership prohibiting House cameras from broadcasting the event, a full-length video of the forum is available on the Committee on House Administration Democrats' website. Additional materials, including the hearing transcript, will be added to the page in coming weeks.