Hagan co-sponsors bill that calls for sunlight on political donations

McClatchy Washington BureauJune 24, 2014 

Sen. Kay Hagan on Tuesday again became a co-sponsor of a bill that would require corporations and advocacy groups to disclose their donors for political ads. An earlier version of the bill was introduced in the Senate in 2012, but it had no Republican co-sponsors, and it went nowhere.

The DISCLOSE Act (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) would help voters know who’s behind election ads if it became law. It would require tax-exempt advocacy groups and super PACs to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle.

North Carolina’s Senate race this year between Hagan, a Democrat, and Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis has become one of the nation’s most expensive, with groups giving so-called “dark” money on both sides for ads.

“Americans deserve a campaign finance system that is transparent and just, and information on who is funding political advocacy should be readily available to the public so voters can make fully informed decisions when they head to the ballot box,” Hagan said in a statement on Tuesday announcing her support for the latest version of the bill.

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for open government, says that dark money makes it impossible for voters to know whose interests are represented behind electioneering ads. Sunlight’s Bill Allison said that so far no politician has asked backers to disclose donors voluntarily.

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