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March 19, 2021

King Marks Sunshine Week With Legislative Efforts to Get Money Out of Politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During Sunshine Week, a national effort to strengthen an open government agenda, Senator Angus King (I-Maine) has renewed his support for two legislative pushes that aim to address the influence of money on our political system. Senator King, a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, has reintroduced the Real Time Transparency Act, which would require that all political contributions of $1,000 or more be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 48 hours, and once again cosponsored the Sunlight for Unaccountable Non-Profits (SUN) Act, which would require the IRS to publish the names of any donors who give more than $5,000 to tax-exempt political organizations. Both pieces of legislation are designed to increase transparency and help inform voters about who is funding the candidates on their ballot.

“Elections are the foundation of America’s democracy, and our nation’s voters deserve to know who is trying to influence their decision,” said Senator King. “Right now, our political system is plagued by far too much money, and far too little transparency. These commonsense legislative proposals – which I have supported for the last several Congresses – will help return our system to its original intent, free from those who would use dark money to put a thumb on the scales of democracy. It’s time to put politics aside, and pass this legislation as part of a bipartisan effort to restore the American people’s faith in government.”

Under current law, contributions of $200 or more must be filed with the FEC on a quarterly basis. Currently, only large contributions made within 20 days preceding the election must be disclosed within 48-hours. The Real-Time Transparency Act would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to:

  • Require all candidates for federal office, including those for the U.S. Senate, to report contributions of $1000 or more to the FEC within 48-hours.
  • Apply reporting requirements for transfers from Joint Fundraising Committees to candidates as well as for contributions from individuals directly to candidates
  • Modify the $1000 threshold to make it cumulative within one calendar year, mandating that any individual must report donations whenever total donations equal a multiple of $1000.  (For example: the individual would be published every time their donations pass a threshold of $1000.)

Senator King is deeply committed to enacting legislative reforms that support campaign transparency in order to increase voter trust and engagement in our democracy. In the last Congress, Senator King cosponsored the For the People Act, a sweeping package of legislative reforms that would strengthen anti-corruption laws and address the dominance of big money in politics. He also cosponsored the Spotlight Act, which would require certain political non-profit organizations to disclose their donors to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), reversing a rule that eliminated the requirement and allowed such organizations to keep their donors secret.

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