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Senate Dems to Reintroduce DISCLOSE Act - Broadcasting & Cable

Senate Dems to Reintroduce DISCLOSE Act

House Dems reintroduced their own version in February
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Thirty Five Senate Democrats are reintroducing
the DISCLOSE Act. That is the bill that would require enhanced disclosures of
the funding of Super PACS, including identifying those backers in on-air
political ads.

The
bill, introduced in the Senate in 2010, was a response to the Supreme Court's
decision in Citizens United to allow direct corporate and union funding of
electioneering ads -- ones that advocate for or against specific candidates
rather than issues -- in federal elections.

It
was killed by Senate Republicans.

A
House version
was reintroduced by Democrats there last month.

The
Sunlight Foundation said Wednesday that, which tracks money in politics,
praised the bill's return to the Senate. "We are pleased to see the Senate
is aligning with the House on supporting a DISCLOSE Act that goes straight to
the problem: the lack of transparency for unlimited, secret super PAC money and
the influence it has on our elections and our elected officials," said
Sunlight co-founder Ellen Miller in a statement.

Like
the first DISCLOSE Act, the new version would require TV ads to identify the
actual funders, rather than simply the PAC name, and would require individual
funders or the CEOs of corporations, to appear onscreen, as candidates have to
do at the end of campaign ads.

Lobbyists
will also be required to report their spending on independent expenditures and
electioneering communications.

Broadcasters
have First Amendment concerns with such legislation, as well as concerns it
could depress political ad spending.

Signing on to the bill are Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Frank Lautenberg,
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Mark Begich (D-Ark.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff
Bingaman (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.),
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.),
Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten
Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar
(D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.),
Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack
Reed (D-R.I.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.),Chuck Schumer
(D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.),
Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

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