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Yarmuth Says 'No' To Unlimited Campaign Spending By Foreign-Owned Corporations and Bailed-Out Wall Street Banks

(Washington, DC) Last week, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) voted in favor of the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175) – legislation that will hammer shut the loopholes created by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC. By establishing unprecedented transparency requirements and by barring political expenditures by bailed-out Wall Street banks and foreign-owned corporations, the DISCLOSE Act minimizes the impact of that controversial decision.

“The Citizens United decision swung open the floodgates so that big oil companies, Wall Street banks, and even unfriendly foreign governments could spend millions to manipulate American elections to fit their agendas,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “The DISCLOSE Act is a key first step toward making sure the voices of American citizens are not drowned out by unaccountable special interests.”

In the Citizens United v. FEC decision, the Court overturned nearly a century of judicial precedent to declare that private companies - including subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies controlled by governments unfriendly to the United States - should be given free rein to spend millions of dollars to influence American elections.

Without a legislative response, Exxon Mobile could now spend $8 million in each Congressional race in the country at a cost of just ten percent of its 2008 profits, essentially hand-picking the winning candidate for every single House and Senate race in the country. Additionally, CEOs from Wall Street banks supported by taxpayer bailouts can use those funds to advocate for or against particular candidates.

The DISCLOSE Act clamps down on some of the most extreme effects of that Citizens United decision by:

  • Preventing bailed-out Wall Street banks and corporations from spending to influence elections.
  • Prevents big oil interests (such as B.P. or the Venezuelan-owned Citgo) and other corporations controlled by foreign corporations or governments from manipulating elections.
  • Requires corporations and special interest groups to stand by their political advertising just like candidates for office must.
  • Requires corporations and special interest groups to fully disclose their political expenditures and expose them to new “sunlight” provisions.