Press Releases

Conyers Leads Fight to Prevent Secret Money in Federal Elections

Washington, DC, February 13, 2012

  – Yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MIch.) joined his colleagues Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and  Robert Brady (D-Pa.) as an original cosponsor of H.R. 4010, the DISCLOSE Act of 2012, a bill to require the disclosure of corporate and special interest money in politics.  In the 2010 Citizens United case, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional limits Congress placed on independent spending by corporations for political purposes. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United overturned more than a century of legal precedent,” said Conyers.  “Now, corporations, wealthy individuals, and Super PACs can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the selection of public officials. Voters are entitled to know which candidates are receiving these kinds of contributions. When voters are targeted to receive these negative television advertisements, they should know who is paying for them.  As voters decide on who best to represent them, they have every right to know who is trying to influence their decision.”

H.R. 4010 represents House Democrats continuing dedication to reigning in special interests and reforming Washington.  In 2010, The Supreme Court’s action prompted House Democrats, led by Representative Van Hollen, to introduce legislation requiring entities to disclose the identity of these now unlimited corporate donors.  Then-House Judiciary Chairman Conyers oversaw the passage of H.R. 5175, a previously introduced version of the DISCLOSE Act which passed the House in 2010 while Republicans blocked companion legislation in the Senate. 

In 2011, Ranking Member Conyers along with his colleague Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.) introduced H. J. Res. 78, a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Court’s decision and again allow Congress to limit the amount of money corporations may spend for political purposes.