June 28, 2018

Duckworth, Durbin Help Reintroduce Legislation To Increase Transparency in America's Campaign Finance System


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and all Senate Democrats in introducing legislation to shine a light on the unlimited, secret spending flooding American elections. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act of 2018 (DISCLOSE Act) would require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors and help guard against hidden foreign interference in our democracy.

“Secret money enables special interests funded by wealthy donors and foreign governments to interfere with our democracy, and it has no place in our electoral system,” said Duckworth. “We can't afford to allow foreign adversaries like Russia to influence our elections by hiding behind domestic shell companies. This bill will finally put a stop to such meddling and ensure it’s the American people’s voices that are heard in our elections, not those of foreign or special interests.”

“The power of our political system belongs in the hands of the American people, not wealthy donors or foreign governments. We have to close loopholes that allow these entities to exploit the system and influence political campaigns by funneling secret money into our elections,” Durbin said. “This bill will increase transparency in our campaign finance system by shedding a light on bad actors – particularly foreign adversaries like Russia – that seek to manipulate and meddle in our elections.”

Federal law currently prohibits foreign nationals and foreign corporations from engaging in any election spending. Yet, domestic companies owned by foreign entities are not subject to the same restrictions. The DISCLOSE Act of 2018 would resolve this issue by prohibiting domestic corporations with significant foreign ownership from spending money in U.S. elections. The bill also includes provisions to crack down on shell corporations by requiring companies spending money in elections to disclose their true owners, so election officials and the public know who is behind the spending.

A full summary of the bill is available here. Bill text is available here.