(Good to see you, Senator! – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)
I joined the Citizens United Task force in the Senate because of the damage the ruling has caused. Coloradans are enduring advertisement after advertisement advocating for, and mostly against, candidates and issues. Many of these ads are funded by a only a small number of people through groups with phony names. And in a lot of cases, even if they wanted to, voters can’t find out who is donating to these fake committees.
We’ve introduced the DISCLOSE Act, which would create greater transparency in elections through new disclosure rules. Disclosure isn’t the only solution, but it is one that has traditionally received bipartisan support in the past. And eight of nine Supreme Court Justices have said it’s constitutional.
Justice Scalia even said it is a desired result:
“Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.”
It takes courage to put your name on something. It takes courage to stand for something that’s unpopular. It doesn’t take a lot of courage to let somebody use your money in a way that keeps you completely anonymous and imposes something on families in our state, who are trying to make a fundamental American decision to vote in a democracy.
We’re also facing the danger of allowing only a few individuals to use Super PACs to drown out the voice of the rest of the country. One individual, who has given more money to super PACs in 2012 than anyone else in the country, has a net worth of $24.9 billion. His $35 million in spending is the equivalent of the average family giving $108. To give a sense of perspective, the median household income in Colorado is roughly $56,000. If family earning $56,000 every year never paid any taxes and didn’t spend a nickel, it take them 441,000 years before it added up to what this one guy has.
Earlier this week the taskforce attempted to bring the DISCLOSE Act to the Senate floor for debate. Unfortunately, a minority of senators used a procedural tactic to prevent us from even debating the bill. The taskforce responded on the Senate floor late into the night.
A poll follows. My staff and I will do our best to answer questions and respond to comments throughout the day.