INSTITUTE INDEX: Disappearing disclosure

Date on which Senate Democrats proposed the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act of 2012 seeking to counteract the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that the government can't limit political spending by corporations, unions or other groups by expanding disclosure requirements: 7/10/2012

Under an earlier, failed version of the DISCLOSE Act, threshold for campaign expenditures that would have had to be reported to the Federal Election Commission: $600

Threshold under the 2012 legislation, which was watered down in hopes of winning broader support in Congress: $10,000

Number of votes the bill needed to avoid a Republican filibuster: 60

Final vote on the measure: 51-44

Number of Republicans who supported the bill: 0

Number of Republicans who voted against the bill who had supported nearly identical legislation in 2000: 14

Year in which Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) -- who led the opposition to the DISCLOSE Act by calling transparency requirements "un-American" and saying they lead to "political intimidation" -- called for broad new disclosure requirements: 2000

Months after the Citizens United decision that a group called Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity (CHGO) was established as a 501(c)(4) "social welfare" nonprofit, allowing it to keep its donor names secret under current law: 3

On its application to the IRS as a tax-exempt organization, amount CHGO said it planned to spend to influence the election of anyone to public office: $0

Amount the organization ended up raising, the majority of it spent on ads attacking 11 Democrats running in House races in states including Florida and South Carolina: over $4.8 million

Portion of the total CHGO raised that came from a single contributor whose identity remains secret: $4 million

Number of reports CHGO filed with the Federal Elections Commission in compliance with laws requiring that such expenditures be disclosed: 0

Minimum number of complaints filed with federal regulators against CHGO over its campaign activities: 3

Year in which CHGO went out of business, reporting that it had no remaining assets: 2011

Date on which CHGO spokesperson Scott Reed, former head of the Republican National Committee, went to work as a political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the DISCLOSE Act: 11/2011

Amount that the U.S. Chamber, which under current law does not have to disclose its donors, has spent so far in the 2012 federal elections: $4.7 million

Date on which the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a report on the CHGO fiasco calling that said passing the DISCLOSE Act was a "good first step" toward making such groups reveal the special interests working through them to influence elections: 7/13/2012

(Click on figure to go to source.)