They Don’t Expect Us to Care About the Roberts Amendment


This week something big is happening over in the Senate with Sunlight’s campaign to pass S. 482 – The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act – and we could really use your help. Senate offices won’t be expecting us to care about this issue or make phone calls …which is exactly why we need make them.

Two things have to happen for S. 482 to pass. First, the Republican and Democratic leaders have to agree on a time for a vote, and our lobbyist is working hard to get them to come to an agreement.  The second thing is where we really need people to make phone calls.

When the bill comes up for a vote, Senator Pat Roberts will offer an amendment that must be defeated. He will claim his amendment is about transparency, but to be perfectly blunt: it’s not.

Please call your senators to ask them to vote NO on the Roberts amendment to S. 482. We’ve made it easy for you. Just click on your senators’ names and follow the simple steps.

And here’s the rub. The Roberts amendment would violate the privacy of donors to nonprofit organizations by forcing their names to be made public any time the nonprofit decided to file an ethics complaint against a sitting senator. Think about it. You have a constitutionally protected right to free association. That includes making private contributions to whatever nonprofit organization you choose. The Roberts amendment would eradicate that right whenever an organization asked the Ethics Committee to investigate whether a senator violated Senate Rules. The result? Organizations will be forced to choose between protecting their donors’ constitutional rights or filing an ethics complaint. You better believe a lot of them will decide against filing the complaint.

This is bad for nonprofits, for charitable contributions, and its awful for transparency.

Please call your senators and let them know that because the Roberts amendment would mean fewer legitimate inquiries into alleged violations of Senate rules, the amendment is antithetical to privacy and transparency. S.482 is an important bill that provides voters with timely online access to critical information on senate campaign finances. The bill should NOT be derailed by an anti-transparency amendment.