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July 12, 2012
To: Members of the U.S. Senate
From: Elisabeth MacNamara, President
Re: Vote for Cloture on the DISCLOSE Act of 2012
The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to vote for cloture on S. 3369, the DISCLOSE Act of 2012, which would restore transparency to U.S. elections by requiring complete disclosure of spending on big-money advertising in candidate elections.
Cloture will ensure that the full Senate truly debates this bill rather than succumbing to the hyper-partisanship that too often blocks responsible action by the Senate. Secret spending in election campaigns is a topic of vital importance to our democracy, and it deserves meaningful debate.
We understand that some Senators will oppose the bill, and we understand that some Senators will want to amend the bill. There are appropriate procedures to accomplish those aims without resorting to the political blackmail and obstruction that a filibuster represents.
The League supports the DISCLOSE Act of 2012 because we believe that Americans deserve all the information they can get before they vote. Secret campaign money has no place in America’s democracy because it undermines the role of the voter and corrupts the election process. Voters have a right to know who is making unlimited campaign expenditures and influencing elections -- whether it is a corporation, union, trade association, or non-profit advocacy groups.
Tell us where the money is coming from and let the voters decide.
S. 3369 builds on disclosure requirements already approved by the Supreme Court. In fact, the Court pointed in the direction of enhanced disclosure in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission when it said that disclosure is important to “providing the electorate with information.” It also argued that disclosure is important “so that the people will be able to evaluate the arguments to which they are being subjected.” We couldn’t agree more.
We must preserve the integrity of our electoral process by increasing transparency and letting the sunlight shine in. Disclosure of all corporate, union, and individual spending in elections is vital to allowing voters make informed decisions. The DISCLOSE Act accomplishes that fundamental purpose. The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to vote for cloture and for final passage.