DISCLOSE is the People’s Issue
Written by Kristy Minielly
Yesterday, a vote to break the Republican filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act failed along a party line vote. DISCLOSE would have required organizations to disclose any donors of $10,000 or more. Even though they all voted to continue debate, none of the Republicans stayed at the Senate last night to make their case against transparency.
GOP Senators’ silence last night wasn’t louder than their past words in favor of disclosure. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC, “We need real disclosure.” However, he has now become one of the loudest voices claiming this bill harms free speech. What about free speech for the American people? Don’t we deserve to know where all of the money is coming from?
In his closing statement last night, Senator Whitehouse, the bill’s sponsor, shared that over 617,000 Americans have declared their support for DISCLOSE. Although the American public is often criticized for being inattentive to politics, this is proof that at least some of us are listening. This is evidence that we do care. As voters, we deserve to know where the money is coming from before we are asked to make a political decision. Why? Because as Senator Whitehouse said, “it’s right.”
The money that is pumped into closely contested elections has massive influence on election and policy outcomes, often to the benefit of special interests. Both parties have agreed that some degree of disclosure is necessary to keep the voice of the people from being completely drowned out. However, the fact that DISCLOSE was voted for along party lines, given its widespread public support, shows what some of our leaders’ true priorities are.. The people are listening, but they’re also speaking; our Senators should be listening too.
Kristy Minielly is a rising junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, double majoring in English Language and Literature and Political Science. She comes to Common Cause as part of Georgetown University’s Law, Legislation & Politics Program.