2010-04-30: Statement On The DISCLOSE Act
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 29, 2010
Statement by the President on the DISCLOSE Act
"I welcome the introduction of this strong bi-partisan legislation to control the flood of special interest money into America?s elections. Powerful special interests and their lobbyists should not be able to drown out the voices of the American people. Yet they work ceaselessly toward that goal: they claim the protection of the Constitution in extending this power, and they exploit every loophole in the law to escape limits on their activities. The legislation introduced today would establish the toughest-ever disclosure requirements for election-related spending by big oil corporations, Wall Street and other special interests, so the American people can follow the money and see clearly which special interests are funding political campaign activity and trying to buy representation in our government. I have long believed that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and this legislation will shine an unprecedented light on corporate spending in political campaigns. This bill will also prohibit foreign entities from manipulating the outcomes of American elections and help close other special interest loopholes. I hope that Congress will give this legislation the swift consideration it deserves, which is especially urgent now in the aftermath of the Supreme Court?s Citizens United decision. Passing the legislation is a critical step in restoring our government to its rightful owners: the American people."
I'm glad for some action on disclosure of corporate campaign contributions and electioneering, but it doesn't go far enough. What the US needs is a constitutional amendment which strikes down "corporate personhood". Once we no longer give corporations special rights that aren't available to individuals, much of the corrosive influence they've had on our government will go away. Now, I have to be clear that a corporation is not just a profit-seeking entity, but that corporations include non-profits, unions, and advocacy groups as well. So, for example, Citibank, Sears, Wal-mart, and General Motors are corporations, but so are the ACLU, Greenpeace, the NRA, the Catholic church, and the United Auto Workers. There is no reason why an organization should have a greater say in forming policy than the individuals that comprise it.
As for the bill, do its reporting requirements apply to these other corporations, too? If not, it is fatally flawed.
Whether the bill passes in its current for or not, let us work together to restore the influence of individuals by eliminating the influence of corporations [and corp-alike entities] entirely.
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