Are GOP Leaders Ready to Make Good on Calls to DISCLOSE?

Unlimited, secret special interest money has been influencing campaigns around the country following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and the top three Members of the House Republican leadership are on record supporting transparency:

Speaker John Boehner: I think what we ought to do is we ought to have full disclosure, full disclosure of all of the money that we raise and how it is spent. And I think that sunlight is the best disinfectant. [Meet the Press, 2/11/07]

Republican Leader Eric Cantor:  Anything that moves us back towards that notion of transparency and real-time reporting of donations and contributions I think would be a helpful move towards restoring confidence of voters. [Newsweek, 1/21/10]

Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy: The best way, the fairest way, is greater transparency. Let people understand where it is going and what’s happening.  [Newsweek, 1/21/10]

And with the drumbeat for reform growing louder…

Senator John McCain: We now have a — have a casino mogul that’s, what, up to about $20 million, and a lot of that money comes from his proceeds from his casinos overseas, including China. So I think it has to do with the unlimited money, and I do not believe I’ve ever seen campaigns characterized overwhelming by negative attacks. [ABC News, 2/19]

Thomas Edsall: The Supreme Court has tilted the playing field in favor of those who have benefitted most from rising inequality, giving the richest Americans a new tool to control the political process at a moment when their economic power has reached heights unequaled since 1929. [New York Times, 2/26]

Stephen Colbert: The DISCLOSE Act, it’s got to happen. [The Colbert Report, 2/22]

Democracy 21: There is no legitimate basis for any member of Congress to oppose this legislation. If they do oppose it, it can mean only that they believe the donors financing expenditures to influence elections should be kept hidden from the American people. [Press Release, 2/9]

USA Today: The best short-term answer is to provide voters with faster, more prominent information about who’s giving what to whom. A revised version of the Disclose Act…would strengthen disclosure, which the Supreme Court said makes sense as other restrictions fall away. [Editorial, 2/22]

Los Angeles Times: …would-be opponents of the DISCLOSE Act need to be reminded that even the Supreme Court that gave us Citizens United emphasized the importance of disclosure — and that resistance to reform invites an obvious question: What do you have to hide? [Editorial, 2/15]

The Eagle (Texas): Got an extra $52 million in your petty cash slush fund? Want to buy an election? Well, you can and no one would be any the wiser unless Congress passes the badly needed DISCLOSE Act. [Editorial, 2/26]

The Bulletin (Connecticut): More than 300 organizations are now registered as super PACs and have raised nearly $100 million…We seriously doubt that anyone can argue it’s been a positive contribution to the process. [Editorial, 2/24]

New York Times: This is desperately needed legislation, yet so far no Republicans have come forward to support or sponsor it. Republicans, who are reaping the lion’s share of the new unlimited donations, used to support disclosure laws. [Editorial, 2/12]

Public Citizen: At this critical time when the U.S. Supreme Court has permitted unlimited corporate money to flood our elections – thanks to its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – we no longer have a meaningful disclosure law in place. [Press Release, 2/9]

Sunlight Foundation: We are pleased to see that House Democratic Leaders reintroduced a DISCLOSE Act that goes straight to the problem: the lack of transparency for unlimited, secret super PAC money and the influence it has on our elections and our elected officials. [Press Release, 2/9]  

Boston Globe: Super PACs give wealthy people and organizations grossly disproportionate influence over the political process… [Editorial, 2/26]  

Winfield Courier (Kansas): The American people are watching their votes be diluted many times over by big campaign money, and we are growing angry. [Editorial, 2/27]

E.J. Dionne: We have seen the world created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and it doesn’t work. Oh, yes, it works nicely for the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country, especially if they want to shroud their efforts to influence politics behind shell corporations. It just doesn’t happen to work if you think we are a democracy and not a plutocracy. [Washington Post, 2/5]

It’s time for the Republican leadership to make good on their calls for disclosure and join Democrats to pass the DISCLOSE 2012 Act for a new politics free of special interest money.