Electronic Filing Provision included in DISCLOSE Act: A Win for Transparency

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The Committee on House Administration marked up the DISCLOSE Act today, overcoming the first of many hurdles the bill will face before it becomes law. The bill, which passed out of Committee on a party line vote, included an important Sunlight amendment that will vastly improve the transparency provisions in the bill by ensuring that new disclosure reports detailing electioneering and independent expenditures will be electronically filed and disclosed on the FEC’s website within 24 hours.

Sunlight encouraged Members of the Committee to support this change, which is a real victory for transparency and improves upon an earlier version of the bill in the manner we called for here.  Now, anyone looking for information on corporate or union disclosures will be able to find them in one place, in real time, rather than engaging in a far-flung search across corporate and union websites.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the amendment, which was offered by Rep. Susan Davis, passed unopposed. Sunlight thanks all the Members of the Committee for demonstrating their support for transparency.

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  • Ron Converse

    I understand that only funds spent from the Corporations “general” fund must be disclosed. I’m sure they already have separate accounts for political actions.

  • Ivan L Fail

    Chester Morrison hit the nail on the head re judicial activism. Trying to clean up politics without first cleaning up the legal profession and the judiciary is like trying to “push a string in a straight line”, it can NOT be done. And cleaning up the legal profession and the judiciary can only be done via an electorate referendum driven NON lawyer majority electorate take over and majority control of all phases of attorney/judge discipline –, administrative and command through the investigative and disciplinary phases of the process.

    Go to http://www.halt.org, click on Halt’s Reform Projects , then click on lawyer accountability and Judicial integrity to view the 50 state Report Cards on attorney/judge accountability and discipline. You will find that most states get an F for Corporate Gift and Trip restrictions on judges and very low grades for transparency.
    Does that suggest to you why the Corporations are getting away with political genocide and monetary murder and why the Courts sanction the crime? If that doesn’t prove that we have to focus on and clean up the legal profession and the judiciary FIRST before we have any hope of cleaning up politics I don’t know what will.

    Ivan Fail, Missouri

  • Chester Morrison

    Anybody who thinks the Citizens United decision was anything but judicial activism in its worst form hasn’t read the opinion or study the last 100 years of electioneering influence and the legal precedent established to prevent it; all overturned by a SCOTUS majority failing to practice judicial restraint and address the narrow issue presented in the Citizen’s United brief. Read the opinion!

    Dont worry too much about the exemption given to the NRA. They are hardly opaque in their attempts to influence elections or legistlation. The Disclosure Act addresses those who seek to remain anonymous. Part of problem today is a lack of transparency in government, this bill is a step in the right direction. Since when has free speech been equivalent to anonyminity? Do you also agree Senators can block appointments without showing their face just to stall the process and then vote affirmatively? We have too much closed door business today as it is without fueling more.

  • The Disclosure Act will do nothing to stop the psychopaths. When will the people wake up and realize that we have many psychopaths firmly entrenched calling the shots

  • Dick

    Deeply flawed bill that carves out exemptions for preferred clients of the the current administration, ie unions and the NRA. If we are to have disclosures, then all groups: organizations, unions, non-profits, etc. should be included.

  • Al

    No way – the exemptions alone make it smell bad!

  • mndasher

    I am against the DISCLOSE bill also. What part of free speech does Congress not understand? All parts evidently!

  • marie

    unless disclose is uniformly applied (treat newspapers and old media the same as new media and bloggers), it seems like bullying. count me against it…

  • This seems like a terrible bill to me, for a single reason: it violates Citizens United because it treats news outlets differently from everyone else. A newspaper can run an editorial against or for a candidate, but a union cannot buy a billboard doing the same, without being covered. Citizens United simply disallows this discriminatory treatment under the First Amendment, by my reading.