Seeking to keep a lid on corporate and PAC spending on elections in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United ruling, Democrats in the Senate and House are working in tandem to find ways to throw a few legislative patches on the situation.
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is leading the effort in the Senate, and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is point man in the House of Representatives.
The measure is expected to place restrictions on any corporation which receives $50K or more in contracts with the federal government, or has 20% or greater foreign ownership.
It would require political committees to disclose where it’s funding comes from when it’s used for political advertising.
It would also incorporate stand-by-your-ad statements from corporate executives, just as candidates are required.
Although Republicans in the Senate have shown that they are prepared to filibuster just about anything, Democrats believe they need to tread carefully in this instance due to a public distaste for large corporations. According to the Washington Post, at least one Republican in the House, Mike Castle (R-DE), has indicated he will co-sponsor the bill. Castle is currently running for the Senate seat abandoned by Joe Biden.
RBR-TVBR observation: We read early on that some Democratic operatives didn’t believe there would be a huge Citizen United effect, since corporations are already expert at spending money to get their message out without endorsing or attacking a specific candidate.
Most of us have no doubt seen the preferred ad format. State the issue, have an actor portraying an average citizen state the corporation’s or PAC’s opinion, name a legislator and ask those seeing or hearing the ad to call that legislator. That may continue to be the preferred format – only time will tell.