Whose Side Is Your Senator On?

When a homeowner puts up a candidate's yard sign or slaps a bumper
sticker on the family car, he or she risks alienating friends,
neighbors, and even relatives who hold different views.

Millions of us do it anyway. We're proud of our politics. We
say "Good for you!" to those who disagree. We believe an honest exchange
of ideas is vital to a vigorous democracy.

But a big chunk of corporate America, led by the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, apparently lacks the guts to stand up for their beliefs .

Fearful that some of us would take our business elsewhere if
they voiced their political views openly, these corporations and their
millionaire executives hid behind the chamber and a series of
slapped-together political committees this fall to secretly pour
hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for the House and Senate,
governorships and state legislatures.

Congress let them get away with it. And they'll do it again in
2012, with more secret money and more attack ads, unless Congress acts
-- now.

Twice this year, the Senate had a chance to pass the DISCLOSE
Act, which would force companies, trade associations and unions that
wade into the political arena to do so openly, reporting their donations
to parties and causes.

And twice, a Republican-led filibuster stopped the bill in its tracks.

Democrats made it easy. Their original bill included
cleverly-drafted provisions that would have exempted groups like the
National Rifle Association and AARP from the disclosure requirements.
And in the Senate, they blocked Republicans from offering amendments
that would have permitted a full debate.

This has to stop. Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to bring a
clean bill to the floor, open the process to a full debate and insist on
a vote. Keep the Senate in session all night, all of several nights if
that's what it takes, and let those who want to talk disclosure to death
have a crack at it.

It comes down to this: Whose side is our Senate on?

The choice is clear. It's between hedge fund billionaires, oil
executives and health insurance honchos looking to buy our elections,
but lacking the courage to do it openly, and the American people who
have a right to know who's behind the spending.

With the DISCLOSE vote, the Senate will either use its power to
inform Americans about the hidden forces spending millions to influence
our elections, or protect Wall Street and join a conspiracy to deceive
the American people.

Whose side is your senator on?

The time for rhetoric around transparency is over. Now is the time to act.

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