April 23, 2013

Wyden and Murkowski Unveil “Follow the Money” Reform Bill

Senators Co-sponsor Legislation to Address Campaign Finance Abuses and Anonymous Spending

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation to address the influx of anonymous federal election spending and bring transparency and consistency to campaign finance law.

The Follow the Money Act of 2013 creates a simple and universal system of disclosure for independent spending in federal campaigns. The legislation would require the source of independent spending to be disclosed in a manner consistent to that applied to federal candidates.

“These reforms reflect the belief that where there’s significant campaign spending, everyone has to play by the same rules and that voters deserve to know where the money is coming from and where it’s going,” Wyden said. “This will bring an end to the most flagrant abuses that have made a mockery of campaign finance and tax law.”

“Americans expect accountability and transparency from their candidates, and those deciding to influence elections should be held to the same standard,” said Murkowski.  “A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents were concerned over the role of big money and secret donors in the last election, proving that this is not a partisan issue, this is an issue about having the best-informed voters possible.”

In addition to addressing the full spectrum of independent election spending, the Follow the Money Act would make a number of significant improvements to the overall campaign finance regulatory regime including:

  • Directing the FEC to establish a real-time reporting system for contributions not later than January 1, 2015 so that the public can “Follow the Money” going into both candidate campaigns and independent spending in real time rather than wait for quarterly reports;
  • Expanding existing “Stand By Your Ad” requirements currently applied to candidates to cover independent actors;
  • Increasing the threshold level at which candidates and political committees must disclose contributions on their Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports from $200 to $1,000.

A full summary of the Follow the Money Act can be found here.

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