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Group Exempt from DISCLOSE Requirements Meets with DISCLOSE Lead Sponsor During Vote

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has had a lot to say about money in politics. As lead sponsor of the defeated DISCLOSE Act, he has made a firm stand against the special interests.

“The flawed Citizens United decision allows corporations, including international corporations, to use their vast wealth to drown out the voices of the American people…” (“Senators Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Clean Up Campaign Finance System,” Sheldon Whitehouse, 11/1/11)

“We must ensure that government works for the American people, not powerful corporations. The constitutional amendment we are introducing today will undo the Citizens United decision, putting people in charge as the Founders of our country intended.” (“Senators Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Clean Up Campaign Finance System,” Sheldon Whitehouse, 11/1/11)

“The extent to which money and corporations have taken over the [campaign] process is reflected across our cities in the Occupy movement,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), another co-sponsor. “It is something we have to do something about if we are going to reclaim American democracy as the shining light to other countries that it has always been.” (“Citizens United Going Down? Democrats Introduce Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Ruling,” Huffington Post, 11/1/11)

“The American people are making it clear that they’re fed up with a system that gives special treatment to special interests while middle-class families suffer.” (“Whitehouse: Let’s Shine a Light on Big Money in Politics,” Roll Call, 3/26/12)

“But as this election year marches on, with unprecedented spending by super PACs and other supposedly independent Big Money groups, it’s becoming clear that restoring fairness requires fixing our campaign finance system.” (“Whitehouse: Let’s Shine a Light on Big Money in Politics,” Roll Call, 3/26/12)

So when the big vote to end all this money in politics came about where was Sheldon Whitehouse? At a fundraiser event held by a 501(c)3 nonprofit which is not required to disclose donors and would even have been exempt from doing so had the DISCLOSE bill passed.

Whitehouse’s office said there’s nothing to see here:

Whitehouse was not raising money for his campaign this evening … He briefly stepped away from the Senate floor to drop by an event benefitting the Alliance for Health Reform, a non-profit, nonpartisan health policy organization.

It’s amusing how special interest groups like the Alliance for Health Reform, a group that supports Obamacare, somehow avoids the ire of Whitehouse and is described as nothing more than a “non-profit, nonpartisan health policy organization.” The only difference between Alliance and any organization that is targeted by Whitehouse, is that he agrees with their mission.

Of course he has another motive as well. It’s not protecting the people from the special interests. It’s protecting the legislators from the people.

During last night’s debate, Center for American Progress tweeted a quote from Whitehouse that was likely paraphrased from this interview with Sam Seder at Netroots Nation:

Under Citizens United, groups can threaten legislators with misleading, nasty, negative, anonymous ads.

Ultimately, the goal of people like Whitehouse, who is running for re-election against GOP Candidate, Barry Hinckley, is to silence his opponents, exempt his allies from scrutiny, and ensure that the people are prevented from holding him accountable.

Defeating the DISCLOSE Act yesterday goes a long way towards preventing that.

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