CfA Rebukes Anti-Disclosure Riders in Omnibus Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2015

Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, (202) 780-5750

WASHINGTON D.C. – Earlier today, congressional leaders unveiled an omnibus spending bill that prohibits the SEC from requiring corporations to disclose their political spending. Congressional negotiators included the provision, known as a “policy rider,” despite overwhelming public support for increased disclosure of campaign contributions.

CfA’s Executive Director Anne Weismann said, “With billions of dollars pouring into the 2016 elections, now is the time for Congress and the SEC to implement more transparency, not less.  By prohibiting the SEC from enforcing disclosure of political contributions, Congress is more interested in pursuing a partisan agenda than protecting the American people and our political system from the corrupting influence of anonymous political spending.”

In May, CfA filed a lawsuit demanding the SEC enact a regulation requiring corporations to disclose their political contributions.  The lawsuit alleges the SEC violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to take up a rulemaking petition asking the Commission to consider corporate political disclosure.  Despite hundreds of thousands of comments in support of the measure, the Commission never acted on the petition.  

Congress also included a provision in the omnibus bill preventing the IRS from regulating so-called “dark money” groups.  The agency is in the process of writing new rules governing how 501(c)4 nonprofits can spend money on political activities.  The omnibus bill would require the IRS to put a halt to reigning in these anonymous spending groups.

Ms. Weismann continued, “This omnibus bill is nothing more than a sign Congress intends to export its dysfunction to federal agencies.  Instead of impeding disclosure, Congress should encourage the SEC and IRS to implement rules requiring increased disclosure of political spending.”

CfA is a nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.