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July 22, 2014

King to Lead Senate Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that he will chair a Senate Rules Committee hearing tomorrow to consider the DISCLOSE Act – legislation that would shine a light on so-called “dark money” by requiring organizations that spend money to influence elections to disclose their spending as well as their major sources of funding in a timely manner. The hearing, entitled “The DISCLOSE Act (S.2516) and the Need for Expanded Public Disclosure of Funds Raised and Spent to Influence Federal Elections,” will be the second Senator King has led on the subject of campaign finance disclosure and the impact of dark money on U.S. elections following the Supreme Court decisions McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United.

“Disclosure is the one tool we have that can immediately counter the corrosive influence of dark money in our political system, and the Supreme Court – in decision after decision on the subject – has all but invited us to use it,” Senator King said. “In fact, I think it’s high time that we shed some light on organizations trying to influence elections. We owe it to the American people to let them know who’s trying to influence their vote. Otherwise, dark money will only continue to undermine the public’s confidence and trust in our political institutions.”

The hearing will stream live HERE.

The witnesses for the majority will be: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), author of the DISCLOSE Act; Mr. Daniel Tokaji, Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor of Law at the Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law; Ms. Heather K. Gerken, J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, Yale Law School; and Mr. Bradley A. Smith, Chairman and Founder of the Center for Competitive Politics. More information on the witnesses is available below.

WHO:            U.S. Senator Angus King

WHAT:          Rules Committee Hearing to Consider the DISCLOSE Act

WHEN:          Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:        305 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

Mr. Daniel P. Tokaji is the Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor of Law at The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law and an authority on election law and voting rights. He is the co-author of Election Law: Cases and Materials (5th ed. 2012) and The New Soft Money: Outside Spending in Congressional Elections (2014) as well as the author of Election Law in a Nutshell (2013) and former co-editor of Election Law Journal. Professor Tokaji’s scholarship addresses questions of political equality, racial justice, and the role of the federal courts in American democracy. Additionally, Professor Tokaji has litigated many civil rights and election law cases.

Ms. Heather K. Gerken is the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Gerken specializes in election law and constitutional law. She has published in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, Political Theory, and Political Science Quarterly. Her most recent scholarship explores questions of election reform, federalism, diversity, and dissent. Professor Gerken clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit and Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Bradley A. Smith is the Chairman and Founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and is one of the nation’s foremost experts on campaign finance law. In 2000, he was nominated by President Clinton to fill a Republican-designated seat on the Federal Election Commission, where he served for five years, including serving as Chairman of the Commission in 2004 before resigning in August of 2005. He also holds the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law position at Capital University Law School. He has won numerous awards for his scholarship and teaching, and is a past member of the Advisory Committee to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law.

The DISCLOSE Act, introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and cosponsored by Senator King, would require any covered organization that spends $10,000 or more during an election cycle to file a report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 24 hours, detailing the amount and nature of each expenditure over $1,000 and the names of all of its donors who gave $10,000 or more. Transfer provisions in the bill prevent donors from using shell organizations to hide their activities. For more information on the bill, click HERE.

On April 30th, Senator King chaired a Senate Rules Committee Hearing entitled “Dollars and Sense: How Undisclosed Money and Post-McCutcheon Campaign Finance Will Affect the 2014 Election and Beyond” which was the first to focus on campaign finance since the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision. Earlier that month, Senator King also introduced the Real Time Transparency Act of 2014, which would require that all campaign contributions of $1000 or more be filed with the FEC within 48-hours.


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