Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) yesterday introduced an amendment to H.R. 5485, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017, that would give the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the ability to write regulations requiring corporations to disclose their political contributions.
In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Kildee advocated for the passage of his amendment and for increased transparency in America's campaign finance system.
"Knowledge is power, and the American citizens have the right to know how corporations are spending money to affect the outcome of elections. This amendment would allow the SEC to write regulations that would allow for that kind of disclosure. This democracy should not be for sale -- transparency is the key. The citizens of this country have a right to know and understand how money is affecting the outcome of their elections," Congressman Kildee said in his floor speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision opened the door for corporations and other groups to spend unlimited sums of money to influence the outcome of elections. The ruling determined that political spending is protected under the First Amendment, and while a corporation may not give directly to campaigns, its ability to contribute to political action committees (PACs) is unlimited.
Kildee's amendment was not adopted after a recorded vote of 186 -- 236.
"While I am disappointed that my amendment was not adopted, I will continue advocating for reforms to our campaign finance system. The American people, not corporations, should control the outcome of our elections, and I will fight to ensure our government is put back in the hands of Americans and out of the hands of big business," said Congressman Kildee.