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Celebrate Sunshine Week: Shine some light on secret money in our elections

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Sunshine Week presents the perfect opportunity each year to recognize the importance of transparency and open government. This year, with the ever-increasing influence of often secretive super PACs in our elections, the need for transparency is even more clear.

We have an opportunity for greater disclosure right now. A new bill -- the DISCLOSE Act 2012  will, if passed by Congress, require:

  • Corporations and other outside groups to stand by their campaign ads -- with their leader and top financial contributors disclosed in the ads.
  • Public reporting by corporations, unions, super PACs and other outside groups to the FEC within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditure or transferring funds to other groups for campaign-related activity (of $10,000 or more).
  • Corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to shareholders and organization members.
  • Lobbyists to disclose campaign-related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.
In the wake of the two-year-old infamous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. FEC  -- which allowed unlimited and undisclosed money to flow into our elections, an increase in new super PACs has now led to an increase in the amount of money making it’s way into our elections -- to the tune of over 74.8 million (and counting)! This is no cheap change.

Help get the word out by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Let your community know that it’s time to expose dark money behind our elections. It’s time to pass the DISCLOSE Act 2012.

Though we can see what these super PACs are spending their money on, the rules that let us see who’s giving them money are weak and don’t let us see the whole picture. Without disclosure, we can’t know if the ads we’re watching are funded by corporate VIPs with hidden agendas or everyday people like you and me.

If you want to see if your rep is a co-sponsor on the bill, look them up here and encourage them to keep up the support. If they are not co-sponsors, let them know too that it’s time to open up our government.

The bill has not yet made its way to Senate, so make sure to ask your senator to introduce a complementary bill and bring transparency into our government.

Writing a letter to the editor is easy and takes only a few minutes with our online tool -- we’ll walk you through each step. Lawmakers pay close attention to what goes on in the newspapers of their districts. A letter to the editor will help raise awareness about the need for transparency and accountability in your community. And it sends a clear message to your representative: we’re not afraid to speak out and demand transparency in our elections.

Want to learn more about the DISCLOSE Act? You can follow our updated blog posts about it here: