Senate Passes Amendment Requiring Disclosure of Corporate Political Expenditure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5/26/10

BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Senate passed an amendment to the FY11 budget today that would subject corporate sponsored political advertising to the same disclosure laws that apply to other political spending, and require CEOs to “stand-by-their-ads” by appearing in their ads to say they “approve this message.”

This amendment, written by State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and Secretary William Galvin, was proposed as an initial response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizen’s United case, which gave corporations a constitutional right to limitless independent expenditures and electioneering communications.

“This legislation is a first step towards a comprehensive solution — because at a minimum, corporations spending money in political elections should have to disclose those expenditures to the public,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge. “When someone stands up to speak at town meeting, the first thing they say is their name and where they’re from.  Corporations seeking to influence an election should at least be held to the same standard.”

Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, who co-authored the amendment with Sen. Eldridge, praised the Senate action. “Voters deserve to know the precise source of funding of advertising designed to influence their vote,” Galvin said.

“This amendment will bring some amount of accountability to the corporate cash that will be unleashed by the Citizen’s United case in this fall’s elections. More needs to be done, but this is a great start, and I’m glad to see the Senate is taking this issue seriously,” added Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause.

“This is an essential and critical first step — politics should be for people, not corporations.   Kudos to the Senate, and especially to Senator Eldridge,” added Avi Green, Executive Director of MassVOTE.

Senator Eldridge is working with Common Cause, MassVOTE, and other legislators to craft a more robust and comprehensive response to the Citizens’ United decision, which they intend to file in the coming weeks.

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