Our democracy is threatened. Not by partisanship run rampant, not by an electorate that stays home, (although those are big problems too) but by money. Specifically, the millions of dollars in secret money that dictates what the public knows about the candidates, that provides wealthy special interest donors with access and influence to elected officials and that drowns out the rest of our voices.
To fight the war of money that is being waged against our democracy, the Senate will vote today on the DISCLOSE Act. We need your help to break a promised Republican filibuster. As noted previously in this series, the bill is an even-handed and constitutionally appropriate way to disclose the money that is behind the most negative and misleading ads being aired by outside, dark money groups. The DISCLOSE Act would simply require disclosure of the individuals, corporations and labor unions that make contributions of $10,000 or more to run electioneering ads.
Why does it matter? Because our democracy demands an informed electorate. The meaning of a message—especially a campaign ad—can best be determined if we know who the messenger is. But don’t take my word for it. The Supreme Court agrees. “Transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”
Why does it matter? Because money buys access and influence. While voters remain in the dark about who is funding our elections, the big donors—those forking over million dollar contributions to a super PAC or “social welfare organization” linked with a favorite candidate—are sure to have their calls returned when that candidate is elected to office.
Why does it matter? Because the money poured into elections drowns out the rest of our voices. Money buys a really big megaphone. When just three outside groups are likely to spend $900 million in this election, it is harder for any other voices to be heard.
It’s not too late to make a difference. Call your senators today and ask them to support the DISCLOSE Act.
Read the rest of the What You Need to Know About the DISCLOSE Act Series: