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Tue June 19, 2012
McConnell Being Scolded for Opposing Disclose Act
Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 10:23 am
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is being scolded for flip-flopping on campaign disclosures after his denunciation of legislation requiring that Super PAC donors provide their names.
Speaking before the American Enterprise Institute last week, McConnell argued that contributors to third party organization have a right to remain secret and that the Disclose Act is threatening their free speech. But local and national critics point out that wasn't McConnell's position a few years ago when he was at the forefront of opposing campaign finance reform.
"Money is essential in politics, and not something that we should feel squeamish about, provided the donations are limited and disclosed, everyone knows who's supporting everyone else," McConnell told NPR's Talk of the Nation in 2003.
McConnell made similar a comment in a Lexington Herald-Leader column back in 1997, that contributions and spending should be known publicly so voters could judge what is appropriate.
The caveat is that McConnell favors disclosure when it comes to direct donations to candidates, but since the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court he does not favor those rules being applied to contributors to third party organizations.
But the high court backed disclosure rules in their controversial Citizens United decision, arguing that requiring citizens to be associated with their political acts is necessary with only Justice Clarence Thomas disagreeing—and Senator McConnell.
"I don't think that regular citizens should have to experience any political courage at all," he told AEI members last Friday.