As of right now, it looks as though the DISCLOSE Act is set to go before the Senate for a cloture vote on Monday afternoon. If you haven’t done so already, I’d appreciate it if you would join me in signing the petition now. And, if you have the time, it would great if you could invest a few minutes, and call your Senators, letting them know how absolutely critical you feel this legislation is.
It’s worth noting that, as of right now, from what I can find online, neither of Michigan’s Senators… neither Carl Levin nor Debbie Stabenow… have signed on with the likes of Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer, and Sheldon Whitehouse to support the legislation.
As Levin was an original sponsor fo the legislation, I’m hopeful that he’ll vote in favor of it. I’m not so sure, however, about Stabenow, who, it seems, is always looking for opportunities to disappoint me.
Anyway, if you’d take a few minutes and call, I’d appreciate it. Here are their office numbers.
The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act (DISCLOSE Act), by the way, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is intended to mitigate the complete disaster brought about by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations and wealthy individuals to anonymously pour unlimited millions of dollars into U.S. elections. The DISCLOSE Act, wouldn’t stop that from happening, but, at least, it would make it possible for us to see whose money is funding the unregulated, often untrue, attack ads that are filling our nation’s airwaves. In the words of Al Franken, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, the DISCLOSE Act would “bring the unlimited and unaccountable special interest spending we’ve seen in elections across the country out into the sunlight.” It’s a small step, but, at least, if it passes, we’d know which corporations and billionaires were using their resources to try to buy elections, and we’d be able to respond accordingly. As you can imagine, though, corporations, and the men who run them, don’t want this information known. They don’t want to be held accountable for funding libelous ads directed at those who, fro instance, would see their industries regulated.
We need to mobilize this time like we did when the horrendous SOPA legislation was in front of Congress. When that happened, as you’ll recall, the online community came together, spoke in a unified voice, and literally crushed it. We need to do the same thing here. There is absolutely no reason we should allow individuals and corporations to anonymously wage war via attack ads… Here, to illustrate why this is so critically important, is video of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, whom we just discussed a few days ago, on MSNBC’s Harball.
Here’s part of the transcript of Brown’s interview with Michael Smerconish:
SMERCONISH: When it comes to dirty, angry money, there are few Senators who have had it thrown at them as consistently as Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown. According to the Huffington Post, outside conservative groups have spent more money to unseat Senator Brown than any other Senator in the country this year. Conservative groups have spent $10.5 million to date. That’s more than four times the amount spent by outside liberal groups. The money is mainly coming from so-called “social welfare” groups, which do not have to disclose their donors. One major player is Crossroads GPS, which was founded by Karl Rove. The group has spent $2.5 million on ads targeting Brown, and they have a new $1 million ad launching today. Why has Sherrod Brown become such a target? …Senator, why you?
BROWN: Well, I think “why me” is because I’ve been a strong progressive voice. I assume it’s oil companies spending money in Ohio, because of my opposition to tax breaks for the oil industry. I assume it’s Wall Street banks, because of my legislation to end “too big to fail.” I assume it’s the companies that want to outsource American jobs, and benefit from that outsourcing, because of my Chinese currency jobs bill. I don’t know for sure, but I think that’s what makes you a target in this business.
SMERCONISH: Let’s underscore that. The point that you have to qualify this by saying, “I assume, I assume, I assume,” because there’s no disclosure that’s required. At least at this stage.
BROWN: Yeah. It’s bad enough that billionaires and huge corporations that already have too much power in our government, in Congress, in the Executive branch, far too often… they already have that power, and then they can spend money without disclosure, and that’s the importance of this whole citizens’ movement…
SMERCONISH: Senator, why are liberal groups being outflanked in this regard, keeping up with these kinds of expenditures?
BROWN: Well, I think groups that are more progressive don’t have the resources. Keep in mind that when the oil industry spends that kind of money, when their side wins, they get tax breaks, weaker environmental laws, and anti-labor legislation. So, there’s real incentive for individual billionaires… so they invest. Really, it’s an investment to them. They invest tens of millions (of dollars) and get billions in tax breaks and other benefits.
OK, so, after you contact your Senators, and ask them to vote for the DISCLOSE Act, if you still want to do something, please consider giving Sherrod a few dollars to fight off Karl Rove and company.