Transparency reform bills introduced in Congress on anniversary of Citizens United

The often-cited quote about the pursuit of open government and open data by United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” This mantra to many is included in the 1913 Harper’s Weekly article, entitled “What Publicity Can Do.”

His words are possibly even more relevant now, as we observe the anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision:

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision — a decision that not only opened the floodgates for secret money in politics, but also shifted the policy debate in Washington by diminishing the voices of average citizens in favor of wealthy special interests.

Efforts can multiply to remove or restrain money from politics, but the open movement is about disclosure, transparency and allowing citizens to decide for themselves when looking at records of who has given money to which candidates and causes. To that end, three bills have just been introduced at the Congressional level today, including two with bipartisan sponsorship. Hopefully they will get further this year, in advance of the presidential election year. You can read more about each of them here.

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