Earlier this year the Supreme Court handed down a far-reaching decision allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited advertising funds in candidate elections. Making matters worse, Citizens United v. FEC allows this unlimited spending to be done in secret!
Fair and clean elections, determined by the votes of American citizens, should be at the center of our democracy. The League has taken up this cause, and now we're asking our supporters to join us in the fight.
Here are 5 reasons you should add your voice to this debate:
- Secret money has no place in American democracy.
Corporations and unions should not be allowed to spend money in elections without full disclosure to the American public. The role of the voter -- not the corporation or organization -- in determining elections must be protected.
- Corporations and unions should have to stand by their ads.
When huge sums are spent to urge voters to take a certain action through advertisements, it should be clear who footed the bill. The "stand by your ad" system in elections works for candidates -- we need it in place for corporate America too.
- Federal bailout money should stay out of electioneering.
Companies that receive federal bailouts should not be able to spend money in elections. This is a clear conflict of interest that is even more damaging without full disclosure.
- Coordinated spending should be open spending.
When a candidate, corporation or union get together to encourage voters to support or oppose a candidate, it should be clear who paid for any advertising or media.
- Foreign corporations should never have a hand in American elections.
As it currently stands, Citizens United allows foreign corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money, secretly, on campaign advertising to influence the outcome of elections. A company controlled from outside the United States should not spend huge sums to support or oppose candidates.
Legislation to require disclosure of corporate and union electioneering, known as the DISCLOSE Act, has been introduced in the House and Senate, and the League of Women Voters is strongly supporting this bill. Our elected officials must protect the rights of voters. Congress must pass a fair and balanced bill before the 2010 elections to ensure these rights.
Your voice matters: Encourage your Senators and Representative to support campaign finance reform today.
Mary G. Wilson
P.S. Join in the conversation on the League's Facebook page.