We need that spotlight

Washington state’s campaign finance disclosure requirements and the excellent public access to campaign information through the Public Disclosure Commission has been ranked the best in the nation. It’s time for the other Washington to get on board.

Republicans blocked the U.S. Senate last week from even bringing the topic of greater campaign finance disclosure to a floor debate.

At issue was the DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections), a proposal requiring public access to the names of donations to nonprofits in excess of $10,000 that is used for a political purpose.

Why is that important? Because ever since the Citizen’s United ruling, super PACs have been hoovering up campaign donations from corporations and wealthy individuals at double the rate of the 2010 elections.

Yes, super PACs have to disclose their benefactors, but not the 501c(4) tax-exempt organizations attached to them. It’s a loophole that has greatly benefited GOP candidates.

In the words of Sen. Patty Murray: “The DISCLOSE Act of 2012 shouldn’t be contentious because it simply does what a majority of the American people view as a no-brainer – it requires outside groups to divulge their campaign-related fundraising and spending. Plain and simple. And it does this by shining a bright spotlight on the entire process and by strengthening the overall disclosure requirements for groups attempting to sway our elections.”

When it comes to campaign finance, there are those who prefer secrecy, and there are others who think only sunshine can prevent public corruption.