Last week,senators voted on whether to advance the DISCLOSE Act, a campaign finance bill that would have required dark money groups to identify large donors. While the measure had the votes to pass, it was blocked from consideration by a filibuster.
Daniel Weiner, director of the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following reaction:
“Today senators blocked a sorely needed reform to the campaign finance system from receiving an up or down vote. Campaign transparency has overwhelming bipartisan public support, and yet outside groups were able to spend more than $1 billion in dark money on federal races just in the 2020 cycle.
“The DISCLOSE Act would have required transparency for the largest donors funding this spending and would also have tightened rules to prevent foreign governments and oligarchs from meddling in our political system. This is hardly the only reform needed to repair and protect American democracy, but it should have been one of the easiest to pass.
“Although there is no substitute for congressional action, the Biden Administration and the independent Federal Election Commission both have the power to address dark money on their own. We urge them to take immediate steps to do so.”
Under the DISCLOSE Act, an entity that receives more than $10,000 in an election cycle from a single source would have to publicly disclose that source. Smaller donors — and those who contribute for non-electoral reasons — would retain the option to remain anonymous. The act would also tighten restrictions on spending on U.S. campaigns by foreign governments, corporations, and similar entities abroad.