Three ways Congress can increase transparency after McCutcheon and Citizens United

Capitol building

Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants — especially on Capitol Hill. (Photo via SkyNoir, Flickr)

The Senate Rules Committee recently held a hearing entitled, Dollars and Sense: How Undisclosed Money and Post-McCutcheon Campaign Finance Will Affect 2014 and Beyond. The Sunlight Foundation submitted a statement for the record that urged Senators to consider three solutions to increase transparency in a post-Citizens United and post-McCutcheon world.

First, Senators should enact the Real Time Transparency Act, S. 2207 and H.R. 4442. The bill would require disclosure of contributions $1000 or more within 48 hours of receipt by parties, candidates and committees. A robust, near real-time disclosure regime is critical after the McCutcheon case provided a handful of individuals with the ability to buy access and influence with extremely large contributions. Voters need to be able to react to large contributions and can only do so effectively with real time disclosure. Given Senator Ted Cruz’s explicit support for real time disclosure during the hearing, this is a measure that should be embraced by both sides of the aisle.

In addition to the Real Time Transparency Act, Sunlight supports enactment of the DISCLOSE Act to provide for disclosure of dark money contributions that are laundered through fraudulent social welfare organizations as a result of the Citizens United decision.

Improved lobbying reform, as required by the Lobbyist Disclosure Enhancement Act would ensure that the lobbying activities of the wealthiest interests making large hard money or dark money contributions are disclosed.

While none of these legislative initiatives would undo all of the damage wrought by the Court, all are important to deter corruption and inform voters.

Rules Committee Hearing Post-McCutcheon Statement for the Record