The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has contributed to an unprecedented influx of money into the election process, raising questions about donor disclosure by 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations. A highly politicized issue, Members of Congress and the public have begun to both call for, and question, increased scrutiny of 501(c)(4) organizations that appear to be engaged in partisan political activity.
The last time legislation on this issue was introduced was during the 112th Congress in 2012. The DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in the House (H.R. 4010) by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and in the Senate (S. 2219) by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. On March 29, 2012, the Senate Rules and Administration committee held a hearing on S. 2219. Click here to watch the hearing and read the testimony. Senator Whitehouse introduced a second version of the bill (S. 3369) on July 10, 2012, which was the version brought to the Senate floor. The Senate voted 51-44 to block consideration of S. 3369 on July 16, 2012. A second vote was held the following day, which failed by a 53-45 vote.