Americans are about to experience their first election under new the campaign finance regime outlined in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Citizens United v. FEC. The decision basically said that corporations have the same right to “speak” in an election as ordinary voters do. As a result, we can expect corporations to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for ads that will flood the airwaves.
And get this: they don’t even have to tell you who they are.
As a July 17 Globe editorial pointed out, you could be sitting at home enjoying a Grey’s Anatomy rerun, and see an advertisement attacking an environmentalist candidate. But you would have no idea that it was paid for by a strip mining company.
At least, that’s what Senator Scott Brown is hoping. In a recent statement, our junior Senator said that he couldn’t support the DISCLOSE Act, the legislation that would require corporations to be transparent with and accountable for the money they spend and what they say.
Given the fact that corporations with multi-billion dollar coffers can now literally drown out all other voices, the least we can ask for is that the water not cover our eyes.
During his campaign, Senator Brown promised to bring “accountability and transparency back to our government.”
Now is his chance to make good on that promise, and require that corporations are at least transparent about the campaigns they’re supporting. American voters deserve to know which financial fat cats are supporting political candidates, so they can make informed choices at the polls.
Lizzi Weyant is the staff attorney at MASSPIRG. For more information about MASSPIRG, visit www.masspirg.org.
Businesses will provide more disclosure than Unions do. I keep reading the Unions are excluded, which is not the case, and there are many exceptions for other groups, depending on such things as how long they existed and how much money people gave. It would have been so much easier to write a one page bill, but that’s not how DC works.
Whenever someone brings up unions in this context I sense a JohnD-esque consistency taunt. If the AFL-CIO pays for advertising supporting a candidate I don’t see why the ad wouldn’t, couldn’t, or shouldn’t say, “Paid for by the AFL-CIO.” Likewise if the AFL-CIO contributes to a coalition that is running ads I assume the fact of their contribution would be disclosed just as a corporation’s would be.
IMO, EVERYBODY should have to say ‘AFL-CIO’ or ‘Megalomart’ in ads.
p>Any other answers out there?
But if the SEIU supports Patrick, they should be investigated. The Governor is trying to eliminate them and their members.