From: Leahy for Senate
January 31, 2012
Securities and Exchange Commission
Regardless of the holding and the 1st Amendment discussions in the Citizens United case, it is an errosion of political freedom to allow massive undisclosed contributions to political campaigns. Just as open government is a necessity in a democratic republic to assure that the administration is of, by, and for the people, so also must be the electoral processes to select a government administration. Great contributions of money enables great access to government administrators. The buying of access necessarily errodes the access of those who have not contributed so greatly. Great money increases the odds that a campaign will be successful. Great contributions buy more expensive advertising which skews the political messages by means of increased public access to, or time spent with, the voters. Though that certainly causes similar behind the scenes contributions to opposing candidates by other great contributors, the combined hidden contributions adds to the general expense of the campaigns. The cost of campaigns, in turn, tend to discourage and therefore interferes with otherwise interested and qualified candidates from seeking elective office. Requiring corporations to disclose direct or indirect political contributions will help to keep election campaigns open to inspection by the public so it is plain who is buying odds for success and access to a candidate, and hopefully such openness will help keep campaigns less expensive then would otherwise be the case.