Congress wants names on election ads

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: In January, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend freely on election ads. Well yesterday, lawmakers in Congress introduced legislation to counter that decision. It would force companies, unions, and interest groups to publicly put their name on their ad spending. From Washington, Marketplace's Brett Neely has more.


Brett Neely: If the bill passes, trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would have to name their top donors in political advertising. That's one reason why New York Senator Charles Schumer introduced the bill.

Charles Schumer: I think that lots of these ads, the people who put them forward are happy to do it if they can do it in the dark of night. But once sunlight occurs, they shrivel up and don't do them. So I think there'll be many fewer of them.

The bill would also bar government contractors and bailout recipients, and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms from campaign-related expenditures.

Lawyer Ted Olson, who successfully argued the Citizens United case, represents the Chamber of Commerce and says the bill goes too far.

Ted Olson: What Congress is trying to do here to is restrict the dissemination of ideas about candidates for public office.

Even if the bill passes, and that will be tough in an election year, its constitutionality is expected to be challenged in court.

In Washington, I'm Brett Neely for Marketplace.

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