Senator Backs Legislation to Publicly Disclose Large Political Donations, Overturn Citizens United

U.S. Senator Tina Smith called on Congress to strengthen our nation’s campaign finance laws by ending the flood of unchecked, unlimited, and secret corporate money into our elections.

Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision—which opened the door to unlimited corporate spending in politics—more than $600 million has been spent in federal elections without free and open information about where these millions are coming from.

In response to the urgent need for campaign finance changes, Sen. Smith is cosponsoring two legislative reforms. The first would overturn Citizens United once and for all, and the second—the DISCLOSE Act—would require super PACs and other organizations spending more than $10,000 in an election cycle to disclose the names of donors.   

“Our democracy is built on the principle that the American people have the power in our elections,” said Sen. Smith. “But as decisions like Citizens United pile up, and as big money special interests continue to undermine our campaign finance system, this democratic principle is in danger. The people of Minnesota don’t want our elections taken over by deep-pocketed special interests, which is why I’m fighting back. We need to enact these reforms and restore democratic power to the American voter.”

The DISCLOSE Act, originally sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would require organizations spending money in elections—including super PACs and tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups—to disclose donors who have given $10,000 or more during an election cycle.

The Citizens United amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), would effectively overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision by permitting Congress and states to set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money to influence elections. Further, the amendment would allow Congress and states to distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.

###

Issues