August 14, 2019 / Press Releases

Senator Collins Voted to Protect Dark Money, Now Decries its Influence

Collins voted against the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would shine a light on dark money

After spending two decades in Washington and voting against major transparency legislation, Senator Susan Collins is now decrying the influence of groups that can spend unlimited, undisclosed money in politics, also known as “dark money” groups. In a Lewiston Sun Journal article, Collins’ campaign criticizes the role of undisclosed outside spending by Maine Momentum, a nonprofit that is not required to disclose its donors. But a look at Senator Collins’ voting record reveals several votes against anti-corruption and transparency legislation that would help fix the problem.

“The hypocrisy from Senator Collins is stunning. After voting with Mitch McConnell against legislation that would shine a bright light on unlimited, undisclosed money in politics, Collins is now decrying the influence of dark money,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “If Senator Collins truly cares about the problem of undisclosed money in politics, she would have sided with Mainers instead of Mitch McConnell and voted for the DISCLOSE Act.”

Senator Collins has worked to maintain the undue influence of corporations and unlimited, undisclosed money in politics. In 2014, Collins voted to block a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United. Collins has also repeatedly voted against anti-corruption and transparency bills, like the DISCLOSE Act, which would require dark money groups to disclose their donors and political spending when engaged in political activity.

Senator Collins has not expressed support for the 2019 DISCLOSE Act. The bill, introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, requires organizations that spend money to influence elections – including super PACs and dark money groups – to disclose the identities of donors who have given them $10,000 or more during an election cycle. It would also require an organization that spends $10,000 or more on political ads to file a disclosure report with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) within 24 hours of purchasing the ads. In 2010, Collins was the deciding vote against passage of the DISCLOSE Act to put an end to undisclosed spending in elections. She stood with McConnell to kill the bill, which had 59 votes.

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