A Friend of Campaign Finance Disclosure…or Not?


As one who has followed Sen. Mitch McConnell's stiff opposition to campaign finance reform efforts for many years, I can't help but recall that while McConnell opposed any campaign finance reform efforts he was always a fan of campaign finance disclosure. That's why his current position on the secret hold/objection on the Senate's electronic disclosure bill – I know but I won't tell – is a bit strange. I mean, if he's for disclosure, then he should want to help S. 223 along.

Here's a sampling of some of what he said in 2001 and 2002 in the context of the debate on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law:

This is about as mild as it gets. All we are asking is for a simple disclosure to the public and to union members of how this money is spent….

It doesn't restrict their spending of the money. It doesn't in any way hamper their ability to raise the money. Simple disclosure is all the Hatch amendment is about, disclosure and sunlight….

If you want to deal with perception, you take money all the way out of politics and we'd have a Japanese kind of system. What we ought to have is disclosure….

I think groups should have the right to run those ads, but they ought to be disclosed and they ought to be accurate.

Sen. McConnell has even gained praise in at least two Kentucky papers for his advocacy of campaign finance disclosure:

The Kentucky Post has written: "But give McConnell this: He has never hidden his opposition to campaign spending limits, he's been a worthy opponent for all comers and he has advocated full disclosure so that voters know who is giving to whom. He has elevated the debate."

The Lexington Herald Leader wrote: "McConnell and others oppose most restrictions on constitutional grounds and instead advocate greater disclosure of the sources of money in political campaigns."

So where does Senator McConnell stand today? For or against campaign finance disclosure? Call him and find out at (202) 224-2541. If he won't talk with his colleagues and ask them to drop their objection on S. 223, or start naming names, we know he's no friend of transparency.