- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sen. Angus King, who has introduced legislation requiring campaign donations of more than $1,000 to be reported to the Federal Election Commission within two days, said Wednesday that recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance means Congress has to work to strengthen disclosure of money in politics.

“I don’t think many people fully realize the explosion of outside money that it’s getting to the point where it’s more than the candidates spend, and in many cases we don’t know where it’s coming from,” the Maine independent said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”

Mr. King is holding a Rules Committee hearing Wednesday that will include testimony from former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who dissented in the historic 2010 Citizens United case that concluded campaign contributions from corporations and unions are a form of protected free speech.

The Supreme Court earlier this month also overturned aggregate campaign finance limits in a 5-4 decision.

Mr. King said that in both cases, the high court “invited Congress to do something about disclosure.”

“The problem is the bulwark isn’t there right now — we really don’t have good disclosure laws,” he said.

“I don’t think we should have $250,000 checks written to candidates, but if the choice is ‘dark’ versus ‘disclose,’ I think that’s better,” he said. “I mean, look, in Maine, you can’t go to a Maine town meeting with a bag over your head. If you’re going to state your opinions and state your views, you gotta come up and say who you are. I just think that’s a fundamental part of our democracy.”

“Disclosure is the tool the Supreme Court has left us, and so we have to figure out how to do it and how to cover everybody so that there aren’t these byzantine, roundabout ways of avoiding it,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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