Is Disclosure Bad for Business?

With the five-year anniversary of the Citizens United decision less than two months away, campaign finance reform debates continue to heat up.

The Sunlight Foundation reports the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is concerned that a reform movement, including campaign spending disclosure, is infringing on its First Amendment rights. An event at the Chamber’s headquarters brought together a diverse group of speakers from the business community to discuss reform options that have been proposed, including the DISCLOSE Act and proposed rulemaking at the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the report, the Chamber feels efforts to mandate more disclosure of corporations’ political activity is nothing more than a ploy to name, shame and ultimately silence corporate actors.

Brad Smith of the Center for Competitive Politics said, “You have to view this as a war. It’s [the reform movement] about trying to drive corporations out.”

Lisa Rosenberg, Sunlight Foundation’s government affairs consultant, believes campaign finance reform is needed.

“The DISCLOSE Act is important because campaign ads are misleading. The messenger is often as important as the message in getting at the truth behind the ad. The DISCLOSE Act would help voters get to know the messenger,” she said.