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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

DISCLOSE Act passes House, restores transparency in elections

Friday, Jun. 25, 2010

The League of Women Voters yesterday hailed the passage of campaign finance legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives as the first step in achieving greater transparency in U.S. elections.

“Secret spending in elections undermines our democracy -- that’s why this bill is so important,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national president of the League of Women Voters.

“The League of Women Voters commends the House for taking strong action, especially Representatives Van Hollen and Castle for their leadership. We now call on the Senate to pass a similar bill, ideally a version free of amendments that dilute transparency or corrupt the spirit of the legislation,” she stated. “It is essential for Congress to enact this legislation now, so we can protect the 2010 elections.”

The DISCLOSE Act, H.R. 5175, received support from a host of reform groups including the League, and yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the League and coalition groups for their efforts in helping to pass this legislation. The Metro Columbus League contacted members of Congress about the issue. The bill passed the House 219-206; locally, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy voted for the measure, while Reps. Steve Austria and Pat Tiberi voted against it.

“This bill is a step in the right direction and achieves its fundamental purpose,” MacNamara said. “The League will continue to fight for enhanced disclosure, and this bill is an important part of that fight. It’s the best campaign finance reform since McCain-Feingold.”

The Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC recently gave the green light to corporations to spend without limit to elect or oppose candidates for office. However, the Court’s decision made clear that disclosure of this spending could be required by Congress.