Sen. Mitch McConnell has always been a proponent of allowing democracy to be purchased by the highest bidder. Such a political process would (and currently does, post-Citizens United) give the Republican Party an inherent electoral advantage, while also allowing McConnell to appear as if he is some sort of “free speech” advocate.
As Fred Hiatt noted in his Washington Post op-ed yesterday, in return for this “Democracy for Sale” scenario, McConnell has always argued that as long as we have full and transparent disclosure of who is spending money on what, the system will not be corrupted or abused.
But as you can see from this speech at the American Enterprise Institute from Friday, McConnell is now fully on board with secret donations to groups for political advertisements:
As Steve Benen notes, McConnell says that Americans knowing who is purchasing ads for secretive groups is a threat to…. yes, democracy and freedom itself:
And what are the “efforts” that have McConnell so outraged? The senator “cited a Democratic proposal to require corporations and unions to disclose their spending on political advertising.”
Yes, in Mitch McConnell’s mind, the DISCLOSE Act is “nothing less than an effort by the government itself to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies.”
As far as the Senate Minority Leader is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with wealthy interests buying American elections — the real scandal is a proposal to let American voters know who’s doing the buying.
Yes, nothing says harassment and intimidation like an informed voting public.
Mitch McConnell led the filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act in 2010, despite easily passing the House and getting 59 votes in the Senate. The 2012 version of the bill is co-sponsored by Rep. John Yarmuth.
Yarmuth tells LEO that McConnell’s comparison of such disclosure requirements pushed by Obama to President Richard Nixon is rather telling.
“I understand why Nixon came to mind when Sen. McConnell was making this speech, but I think he’s projecting here,” Yarmuth says. “The senator believes anonymous donors using secret money should be able to influence elections — all out of the public view. Nixon wrote that playbook. If you oppose disclosure of campaign donors, you’re endorsing dishonesty. It’s the anonymity that allows people to lie in campaigns.”