Top Dem: Maybe Democratic Super PACs Should Disclose Their Donors

June 23, 2011 8:01 am

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), the DCCC official in charge of recruiting new Democrats to run for the House next year, isn’t phased by warnings from former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) that Democrats bellying up to the Citizens United-created money trough next year could spell disaster for the party.

But at a breakfast meeting hosted by The Third Way think tank in Washington this morning, Schwartz suggested Democrats could take advantage of the fundraising afforded them by doing it a little differently.“I would like to change some of the rules, we’ve tried to,” she said. “I think disclosure is enormously important…it’s very important I think for voters to understand Good For America PAC or whatever they call themselves. So that would be my preference.”

“Maybe we can call on our own folks to do that,” Schwarz added.

Shwartz said, “it’s perfectly fine for there to be Democratic-leaning, independent expenditures” to counter the GOP-supporting cash.

Democratic allies are spooling up their own so-called Super PACs in the wake of the Citizens United ruling, which has opened the floodgates to unlimited and anonymous money in election campaigns. At Netoots Nation last weekend, Feingold — a veteran of the fight to reform campaign spending in the 1990s — warned Democrats that following the GOP into Super PAC spending could be their demise.

“We’ll gut our message!” he said in his keynote address. “I don’t just think it’s wrong, I think it’s a dumb strategy.”

Democrats like Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz disagreed with Feingold in interviews with TPM at Netroots. They said ignoring the new funding streams afforded them by Citizens United would amount to “unilateral disarmament.”

On Thursday, Schwartz told TPM that Feingold was wrong in arguing that Democrats will have a hard time distinguishing themselves from Republicans if they dip their toes in the Citzens United money pool.

“The contrast between where the Republicans are and where the Democrats are on the major issues that matter to the American people is really stark right now,” she said. “It really is.”

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