Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the DISCLOSE Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
Later today, President Biden will deliver remarks on one of the gravest dangers undermining our democracy: the power of dark money that has taken over our elections.
I expect the President’s remarks will preview action here in the Senate, where we will have a vote this week to begin debate on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill I have long promised to bring to the floor and which my colleagues, led by the indefatigable and relentless and brilliant Senator Whitehouse—have done a wonderful job championing this issue for years.
The DISCLOSE Act is very simple to grasp: it would require super PACs and other dark money groups to report anyone contributing $10,000 or more during an election cycle. The same goes for any group spending money in support or in opposition to judicial nominees.
In other words, it would apply similar forms of transparency that traditional campaigns and candidates already face – we have to disclose – when accepting political contributions.
And frankly, why shouldn’t this be law? What reason under heaven is there for keeping massive political contributions hidden from the public?
Even the Republican Leader, who has dedicated much of his career, unfortunately, to killing many campaign finance reforms, claimed in the past to support increased disclosure, though sadly he is opposed to our bill today for no good reason.
If you're for disclosure, you should be for our bill. And these flimsy arguments saying that it will deter people from giving are absurd. Absurd.
If a multi-billionaire wants to spend colossal sums on candidates or nominees who are deeply anti-choice, or who support anti-democracy candidates, or who harbor views deeply in conflict with the views of the general public, shouldn’t the public at least have a right to know it?
The rights of voters— and the health of our democracy—far outweighs any interest that a multi-billionaire could have in concealing political spending from public scrutiny.
So the DISCLOSE Act will give every senator a choice: a vote to bring transparency to elections, or stand with the forces of dark money.
Let me say that again: the DISCLOSE Act will give every senator a choice: vote to bring transparency to our elections— remove the veil from this dark money that the public hates, that's cascading into our elections—or stand on the side of dark money. Who wants to be on that side? We’ll see this week.
I want to take a moment, now, to thank my colleague Senator Whitehouse for his incredible work championing this legislation. He’s arguably the Senate’s greatest champion in the fight against dark money, someone who has dedicated years to uncovering the pernicious links between dark money groups and radical judicial nominees. You want to know one of the main reasons we have a MAGA court that overturns Roe v. Wade? That stands in the way of smart gun control laws, gun safety laws? That stands in the way of environmental progress?
It's because of dark money, in good part, dark money. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has exposed this link better than anyone I know. He’s gotten the rest of us to pay attention, in a deeper way, to the gravity of this issue. He will come to the floor later today—and throughout the week—to continue highlighting this issue, and I know others will be joining to stand by his side. I thank him for his work.
I thank the President for speaking about it this afternoon. And I stand with Senator Whitehouse in highlighting this issue ahead of the vote, and urge my colleagues to support the DISCLOSE Act.