NEW YORK - The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has released a statement decrying the immense infusion of anonymous cash into the 2010 elections and calling for passage of the DISCLOSE Act as a step toward transparency in campaign funding. NCJW’s Board of Directors today released the following statement:
“The 2010 election season is the first to be impacted by the US Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, and the results have been devastating for the political process. By equating the first amendment political rights of corporations with those of citizens, the court has unleashed a flood of anonymous corporate donations into the American political system. Reversing decades of precedent, the court overturned a ban on using corporate and union treasury funds on political campaigns, shrouding in secrecy much of the spending on elections.
“Democracy is impossible without equal access to information regarding the interests aligned on issues and candidates. At minimum, full transparency is required to redress somewhat the imbalance that results when some political players have access to resources that vastly exceed those of the individual voter and can spend those resources freely without any accountability to the public. The DISCLOSE Act would make CEOs and other leaders take responsibility for their ads; prevent foreign influence in US elections; permit corporate shareholders and organizational members to know where their money goes; and prevent the expenditure of taxpayer funds by government contractors on political ads, among other goals. Its passage is one of the few ways left to require transparency and accountability in our political process.
“Corporations may not vote, hold office, go to jail, serve in the military, serve on juries, or perform the myriad of other functions, duties, and responsibilities of human citizens. Corporations may even be controlled by those who are not US residents or citizens. There is no evidence the founders contemplated making them equal to citizens in the political arena. We agree with Justice Stevens, who wrote in his Citizens United dissent, ‘Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.’ NCJW believes that enacting the DISCLOSE Act is a step in fulfilling that duty.”
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.