Congressman Bruce Braley is supporting a bill that would require corporations to disclose how much they spend on political campaigns. The bill has been drafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision which opened the door to unlimited corporate spending on elections.
The legislation would require corporate C-E-Os to appear in campaign ads, similar to how candidates say, “I approved this message,” in radio and T.V. ads. Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says congress has an “obligation” to respond to the court decision.
“Voters increasingly are demanding transparency in how money is spent in political campaigns,” Braley says. “They want us to try to lessen the influence of corporate lobbyists and foreign money in elections and I think that’s what the DISCLOSE Act is designed to do.”
DISCLOSE stands for “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.” A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, backed by Democrats. The House bill Braley’s backing also has the support of two Republicans. “It should be the type of issue that is nonpartisan,” Braley says. “We all want to make sure that elections are fair, that they’re not subject to undue influence to excess spending by foreign corporations and foreign nationals and we want to make sure the voters know who is funding the ads that are being used in political campaigns.”
The House bill would prevent corporations like Boeing that are government contractors from spending money on elections. Any company that received bailout money would be prevented from spending money on elections, too. That means neither G.M. nor Bank of America would be able to buy ads or contribute directly to candidates to try to influence the outcome of elections.