Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Rep. Cartwright Introduces Political Transparency Bill

Nov 9, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced the Openness in Political Expenditures Now (OPEN) Act. The OPEN Act would improve transparency in elections by requiring corporations disclose political expenditure details to shareholders. This bill was first introduced in the 113th Congress.

In January 2010, the Supreme Court declared in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that the government may not prohibit political spending by corporations in candidate elections. However, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s court opinion stated that “the government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements.”

“Politicians work for taxpayers – not corporations. Americans deserve to know how much money corporations are spending in our elections and campaigns,” said Rep Cartwright. “This bill would improve transparency by discouraging dark-money groups from using social welfare status to funnel millions into elections.”

Specifically, the OPEN Act would:

  • Require corporations to disclose information on any significant political expenditure as part of their regular, periodic reports to their shareholders or members.
  • Cap the amount of political spending a 501(c)(4) can engage in and still be considered an exclusively social welfare-focused organization at 10% of its annual spending or $10 million annually, whichever is lower.

This legislation was cosponsored by Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) Adam Schiff (CA-28), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), and Marcy Kaptur (OH-09).