Udall sponsors campaign finance transparency bill ahead of big-money race

U.S. Senator Mark Udall has just announced his sponsorship for the 2014 DISCLOSE Act. Udall is also in the middle of a tight and pricey race against Republican upstart Congressman Cory Gardner that could decide the balance of the nation’s now-Democrat-controlled upper legislative chamber.

Sponsored by 50 Senate Democrats, the DISCLOSE Act would shed light on outside campaign spending, not just from Super PACs but also from corporations, political nonprofits and labor unions. Should the bill pass, these groups will have to file all spending above $10,000 with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of making buys. They’d also have to include the names of major donors in advertisements along with a message-approval cameo from the leader of the organization behind the ad.

The bill is specifically designed to address results of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision.

“The DISCLOSE Act, which I am proud to champion, would bring some transparency to ensure average citizens understand who is paying for political ads,” Udall said in a release.

Gardner is not yet on record as supporting or opposing the bill, though news of Udall’s support for the bill hits the airwaves just as The Colorado Independent reports Gardner’s previous support of a dark-money group applying for nonprofit status during last year’s partisan IRS debates. Neither Gardner’s campaign nor staffers returned calls for comment.

The Sunlight Foundation estimates that outside spending in the Udall-Gardner race is already approaching $5 million, with the bulk of the cash targeting Gardner — about $1 million in support of and nearly $3.5 million lined up against his candidacy.

[Photo by takomabibelot]