Millions of American voters went to the polls on Tuesday in a great display of civic responsibility and participation. And while the League is proud — not just of voters but of our own powerful contributions to election 2010 — we cannot ignore the tens of millions of dollars spent in secret this election season.
As we continue to digest the results from Tuesday’s elections, I wanted to pass along our statement on the next steps needed to fix secret cash in American elections. We will not slow down in our work to demand disclosure requirements from Congress. The future of our nation’s elections depends on it.
Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters of the U.S. reflected on the midterm elections today, expressing grave concern about the conduct of the 2010 elections.
"The impact of election 2010 goes far deeper than which party controls the House or the Senate," said Elisabeth MacNamara, national League President. "The tens of millions of dollars in secret money spent in this election are a recipe for scandal. Voters were overwhelmed by millions of dollars in negative ads but didn't know who paid for many of them. Pay-to-play politics won't change until we know who the special interests are who are pouring money into our elections," she said.
"This election demonstrated the critical need to improve our governmental structures," said MacNamara. "Because of the failure of Congress to act, there are no disclosure requirements governing the huge amounts of money that the Supreme Court recently turned loose in American politics. Voters will be hard pressed to know if their elected officials are in Washington to serve the public interest or the special interests."
"The incivility and tone of the 2010 campaign reached a disturbingly new low in American politics," added MacNamara. "Not only was this evident in the advertising, but we also saw it in candidate debates and forums and in the public discourse."
"The League calls on Congress to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would restore transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections. We also call on Congress to preserve and extend ethics enforcement. With the election awash in special interest money, it is no time to cut back on the enforcement of ethics standards in Washington."
"The money poured into recent elections has been unprecedented. The League believes that voters, not money, should be at the center of our democracy," concluded MacNamara. "We will continue our decades of work in helping citizens debate the issues in a civil and effective way and fighting for transparency, accountability and disclosure in America's elections."
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages.
League of Women Voters