The chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), should “hold hearings early in the 113th Congress on the Citizens United decision to examine potential legislative solutions to a system out of control, including consideration of disclosure reforms,” according to a letter sent by Public Campaign and 10 good government organizations today.
Signed by Public Campaign, Americans for Campaign Reform, Campaign legal Center, CREW, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Democracy Matters, Demos, Public Citizen, Rootstrikers, and US PIRG, the letter states:
There are a number of questions that your Committee should examine in light of the 2012 elections. These include: Was any of that undisclosed money spent by special interests trying to get favorable treatment for pending legislation before Congress? Did “shell” organizations form just to spend money in elections and then disband immediately afterward to try to hide information from voters? Did foreign corporations that are hostile to U.S. interests spend money trying to influence public policy?
The hearings should also address the proliferation of political spending by ultra-wealthy individuals and special interest-backed super PACs. Nearly 60 percent of super PAC funding came from just 159 donors contributing at least $1 million, according to a Demos-US PIRG report. In House races, just 0.14 percent of Americans made itemized contributions to congressional candidates. Various proposals (the Grassroots Democracy Act, Fair Elections Now Act, and Empowering Citizens Act) that would enhance the role of small donors should be analyzed to ensure that we have “government of the many, not of the money.”
Former Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), who previously chaired the committee, refused to hold hearings on this issue.
We look forward to hearing from Chairwoman Miller.