U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today introduced the CLEAR Act that would help increase transparency and reduce corruption in politics by requiring additional publicly available disclosures for lobbyists funding political ads or other political activities. This legislation, introduced in the House by Rep. Antonio Delgado, is included in the H.R. 1 government reform bill scheduled to be on the House floor for a vote this week.
“Elected leaders should be accountable to voters, not their special interest donors,” said Senator Gillibrand. “If registered lobbyists are spending money on a political campaign, then voters should have the right to know which candidate is taking that money and how much they’re taking. The CLEAR Act would bring urgently needed transparency to our elections, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this campaign finance reform bill.”
The Connecting Lobbyists and Electeds for Accountability and Reform Act (CLEAR Act) strengthens the ability of individuals to see what special interests are involved in political activities. Currently, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) requires paid lobbyists to register and file with the House and Senate, and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires that political committees file disclosure reports.
Specifically, the CLEAR Act would do the following:
- Require FEC reports filed by political committees to clearly indicate when a contributor is a registered lobbyist.
- Require FEC reports filed by persons making disbursements for independent expenditures or political advertisements to clearly indicate if the filer or a disclosed contributor is a registered lobbyist.
- Require FEC and lobbyist disclosure reports to be linked on one website where they are easily accessible to the public.
Gillibrand has been one of the most vocal advocates about transparency and accountability in the Senate. After learning about loopholes that allowed Members of Congress to use insider information gained through their Congressional duties to gain personal profits, Gillibrand authored and passed the STOCK Act to provide greater transparency to make sure members of Congress play by the same rules as everyone else. Gillibrand was also the first Member of Congress to post a Sunlight Report that included her official schedule, personal financial disclosures, and earmark requests online. She also releases her tax returns annually.