A bill to create more transparency in elections through campaign funding was introduced Thursday by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, and other House Democrats.
“What this says is, let’s get rid of secret money in American politics,” said Van Hollen.
The bill, the DISCLOSE 2012 Act, would require corporations, political action committees like Super PACs, lobbyists and outside groups to disclose their contributors and expenses. Currently, most of these groups are not required to disclose their donors.
Those organizations would also be required to notify shareholders and members of their campaign expenditures. Advertisements paid for by the groups would have to have say the group “approves this message,” similar to candidate disclosures.
“The American people deserve a political system that is fair, transparent, and accountable,” Van Hollen said.
The DISCLOSE 2010 Act narrowly passed in the House of Representatives 219-206 with all Maryland Democrats except Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Fort Washington, voting in favor.
The bill was then killed in the Senate, 59-39, with one vote shy of passing.
“The message is as simple as the title: disclose. You should have nothing to fear unless you have something to hide,” said Van Hollen.
The bill, Disclosure of Information on Spending on Campaigns Leads to Open and Secure Elections, is co-sponsored by Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Rep. Robert Brady, D-Penn.