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Elections

Schumer pushing legislation to increase political donation transparency

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Ellen Abbott
/
WRVO News file photo
Sen. Charles Schumer. (File photo)

With election season here, escaping the volley of political ads that are the hallmark of political campaigns will only get harder. In response, New York Democrat Charles Schumer is helping lead a fight in the Senate to force outside groups funding those ads to disclose their donors.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision dismantled the campaign finance reform known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Wealthy donors, unions and corporations can now dump millions of dollars into political campaigns, seemingly in secret.

That’s why Schumer says he’s pushing the "Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act," or the DISCLOSE Act, ahead of this November’s elections, to bring a little more transparency into today’s political campaigns.

Republicans argue the legislation curbs free speech, but Schumer disagrees. 

"There are limits on the first amendment and certainly there ought to be a limit when the political system gets so out of balance that our treasured 'one person, one vote' idea goes by the wayside, because one side drowns out the other in every election campaign because they have so much more money," Schumer said.

The bill would require outside groups to make their donor lists public, just like candidates have to do. Senate Democratic leadership is planning to hold a vote on the measure this summer or fall, but it’s expected to fail because Republicans oppose it.