Lack of disclosure, civility should not be legacy of 2010 election
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
The League of Women Voters of the United States reflected on the midterm elections this week, expressing grave concern about the conduct of candidates, parties, and special interests.
"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.
"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."