In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Democrats Craft Citizens United Response -- Talking Points Frame Bill As Non-Partisan


Democrats also will say their response -- which calls for CEOs to stand by their ads if they spend money on the elections and sets new standards for disclosure to company shareholders -- is to "protect our democracy from being bought by powerful special interests."

"We can't flood our democracy with millions of dollars in political expenditures and then keep people in the dark about who is trying to influence them," the talking points say. As we reported earlier this year when Van Hollen and Schumer announced their efforts, the new rules would also apply to labor unions and other organizations purchasing campaign ads and mailers.

"Our end goal is to provide more information to the American people so they can make informed decisions," the talking points say. "These are goals shared by a large majority of Americans on the right, left, and in the center."

The Democrats are calling the bill the "DISCLOSE Act." The White House played what an administration official called an "active role" in talking with Capitol Hill about how to respond to the decision, which both Republicans and Democrats have told pollsters they don't like. It also would block firms that received government bailout money from spending on political ads.

Here are more of the House Democrats' talking points:

What this ruling means:

The Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United v. FEC overturned two decades of precedents that prohibited corporate and union expenditures in political campaigns.

* The Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case amounts to a takeover of our democracy and elections by powerful special interests.

* It allows big money interests to spend tens of millions of dollars on elections, which will undoubtedly drown out the voices of average Americans.

* This comes at a time when people are already angry - they don't want decisions that affect their daily lives to be made behind closed doors or in overseas boardrooms.

* At a time when powerful special interests already have undue influence in our democracy, this decision only gives them more power and undermines our electoral process and democracy.

The bipartisan legislation will accomplish three important goals:

1. Increase transparency and disclosure of political spending:

* The most important thing we can do in response to this ruling is ensure transparency and allow people to follow the money that is influencing elections and politicians in Washington.

* We will require heads of organizations to 'stand by their ad' in the same way candidates must.

* If outside groups spend their funds in campaigns, voters have a right to know who is delivering and paying for the message.

* Additionally, powerful special interests will not be able to hide behind sham organizations and dummy corporations.

* Currently someone could set up "good government inc." and spend millions on ads - no one would be the wiser of who was really funding the group.

* Under this bill, the top funder of the ad must also 'stand by their ad' and the top five contributors will be listed on the screen at the end of the ad.

2. Prevent foreign companies--including those owned by hostile foreign governments--from influencing America's elections:

* This bill bars U.S. corporations that are controlled by foreign interests from making political expenditures.

* This will ensure that foreign corporations, who do not put our country first, are not able to impact our elections or buy our democracy.

3. Ensure that entities that receive taxpayer money can't turn around and spend money in elections:

* The legislation prevents federal contractors and TARP recipients from making political expenditures.

* Wall Street banks, for example, should not be able to take taxpayer dollars and then turn around and spend millions to defeat lawmakers who are regulating them.

Read the summary of the legislation here.

Late Update: The Chamber of Commerce responds.