• On Thursday, US Senate Republicans blocked a bill that aimed to combat 'dark money' — political funds with unknown donors — in US elections.[1]
  • The bill, known as the DISCLOSE Act, would've required political groups to disclose donors who contribute $10k or more during an election cycle and would've banned donations from foreign entities.[2]
  • With only 49 votes in favor in the 100-member Senate, the bill fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed.[3]
  • This comes days after the bill was endorsed by Pres. Biden, who in a speech at the White House on Tuesday, scolded Republicans for not supporting “more openness and accountability” on campaign finance issues, while also acknowledging that it’s a problem for both parties.[4]
  • In his speech, Biden also cited a report from last month that detailed how electronics manufacturing mogul Barre Seid donated $1.6B to Marble Freedom Trust, a conservative nonprofit group. Biden claimed the donation wouldn’t have become public if it hadn't been leaked to the press.[2]
  • The DISCLOSE Act first passed the House in 2010, but it failed twice in the Senate in 2012, led by opposition from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who’s now the Sen. Minority Leader.[2]


Democratic narrative

Transparency is a pillar of democratic governance, and "dark money" goes directly against this. An unregulated campaign finance system allows rich businesses to manipulate the system and is as much of a threat to US democracy as coup plots, such as the Jan. 6 attack. Not passing the DISCLOSE Act is a blow to the country.

Republican narrative

The DISCLOSE Act was a brazen violation of every American's right to free speech and would've created repercussions for organizations that simply wanted to participate in democracy. The bill — which defied significant Supreme Court precedent — was clearly an attempt to retaliate against speakers with "unfavorable" political ideas.

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