Gavel Grab

Bloomberg Gives Big Boost to Disclosure

Citing last year’s Citizens United decision, a Bloomberg News editorial, “New Ways to Make Money Start Talking,”  urges dramatically greater steps toward ending the secret money that dominates elections and lobbying efforts. The commentary represented a glowing endorsement of financial disclosure by a major business publication.

“For those wary of anonymous, unlimited donations — count us among them — all is not lost. Although Congress and the FEC have shown themselves unwilling to regulate election money, there is still a path through the campaign finance morass.”

Noting that Congress and the Federal Election Commission have taken no action, the editorial urged President Obama to identify all campaign donors, and called on Congress’s super committee examining the budget to quickly disclose all lobbyists meeting with the panel’s members. Bloomberg also endorsed a petition by 10 law professors to the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require publicly listed companies to disclose political expenditures.

Justice at Stake has strongly urged the adoption of campaign disclosure rules in judicial elections, so that potential conflicts of interest involving special-interest backers can be identified. In a statement issued after the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which declared 8-1 that campaign disclosure rules are constitutional, Executive Director Bert Brandenburg said, “States that elect judges should immediately enact strong, real-time reporting laws, so that special-interest spending is forced into the sunlight. Voters have a right to know who is paying to put judges on their courts.”

Several other articles track campaign spending in the aftermath of Citizens United. They include a New York Times story on changing union strategies, and a Politico article cites an event today in Washington by the Committee for Economic Development, a JAS partner.

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