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by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Jun 4, 2010
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has offered an amendment to HR 5175, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Elections (DISCLOSE) Act, that would prevent companies that receive federal leases to drill in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) from spending unlimited amounts of money to influence campaigns and elections.
“The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been brought to you by the excessive influence of the oil companies. Now, more than ever, we cannot afford to give the oil companies a free pass. They have already gotten too many,” said Kucinich.
The DISCLOSE Act is meant to prevent foreign interests and government contractors from improperly influencing campaigns and elections. Kucinich points out that companies with leases in the Outer Continental Shelf are not explicitly covered by the bill. The bill is considered to be the legislative response to Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, in which the Supreme Court found that corporations and labor unions are free to spend unlimited amounts of money to fund independent expenditures to influence national, state and local elections. The DISCLOSE Act is expected to come before the House of Representatives in the next few weeks.
“If the tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico has taught us anything, it is that oil companies put profits above the delicate and complex ecological systems on which we all depend. Prevention of future such disasters begins with curbing their excessive political influence,” added Kucinich.
Kucinich’s amendment mirrors language meant to prevent recipients of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding from influencing elections.