U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act with the backing of 34 of his Senate Democrat colleagues. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act (S.2219) would establish new public reporting requirements for those organizations spending $10,000 or more during an election cycle, including the release of the names and addresses of donors giving $10,000 or more to the group. In addition, the bill includes a “stand-by-your-ad” provision that would force organizations running political ads on TV or radio to list top funders in the ads, as well as to show the head of the organization formally approving ad content.
Senator Whitehouse declared, “The American people deserve to know who is really behind these ads. This legislation will require organizations involved in elections to tell the public where they are getting their money, and what they are spending it on – shining a badly needed light into the activities of these groups.”
NRB opposes the DISCLOSE Act. Many organizations rely on donations in order to continue supporting family values, and there is concern that public disclosure of members and donors of organizations that support “controversial” viewpoints or candidates might subject them to threats, harassment, and reprisals. Similarly, NRB has urged the FCC to reject a related proposal to require mandatory Internet disclosure by television stations of "political files" and information related to issue-advocacy organizations.