Congressman Ben Ray Luján Sponsors Legislation to Overturn Citizens United

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District announced today that he is supporting a pair of measures aimed at limiting money in politics by overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and increasing transparency in elections.  Luján is a cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act and the Democracy for All Amendment, which would amend the Constitution.

“Five years ago, Citizens United opened up the floodgates of special-interest money into our political system.  Since that time, we’ve seen the rise of Super PACs that can spend unlimited amounts of money while hiding their donors and preventing the American people from finding the truth behind where their money comes from,” Congressman Luján said.  “The legislation I am supporting would increase transparency in our electoral system and restore accountability, while ensuring that a wealthy few do not drown out the voices of the American people.”

The DISCLOSE Act increases transparency through four major requirements:

  • Enhances public reporting of campaign-related activity by corporations and other outside groups.  All corporations, unions, other outside groups, and Super PACs will have to report to the FEC within 24 hours of making a $10,000 campaign expenditure or financial transfer to other groups which can then be used for campaign-related activity.
  • Requires corporations and other outside groups to stand by their ads.  All leaders of corporations, unions, other outside groups, and Super PACs that make campaign-related ads will have to stand by their ads and say that he or she “approves this message.”  Top financial contributors have to be disclosed in television and radio advertisements.
  • Requires corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to shareholders and organization members.
  • Requires lobbyists to disclose campaign-related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.

The Democracy for All Amendment amends the Constitution to provide Congress and the states with the authority to determine reasonable campaign finance regulations and distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities.  A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico.