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Campaign finance reform has been hotly debated in Congress and the Supreme Court over the last few years. At an AEI lunch address on Monday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act, discussed how the pending legislation would require all outside organizations such as 501(c)(4)s to disclose their funding sources. Rep. Van Hollen argued the importance of ensuring the public be informed about campaign expenditures, as such disclosures promote transparency and deter corruption in the political process. He stressed that a public armed with knowledge of donations may prevent political favors in return for donations.
Rep. Van Hollen discussed how 501(c)(4)s have commanded much attention since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case before the Supreme Court in 2010, and how current regulations enabling 501(c)(4)s to make anonymous indirect or direct political contributions do not comply with the meaning of the Internal Revenue Service's statutes.
He continued by detailing how historically, 501(c)(4)s were formed exclusively for social welfare activities as opposed to political campaign contributors and that legislation is necessary to navigate this new regulatory framework. Rep. Van Hollen concluded by inviting his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote the disclosure of campaign contributions from all types of organizations in order to further strengthen America's democracy.
As the 2014 US election cycle gains momentum, expenditures by outside organizations continue to play a prominent role in campaigns. Please join AEI for an address by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act that requires all outside organizations, including 501(c)(4)s, to disclose their funding sources. This issue has been hotly debated in Congress, the Supreme Court, and even at the Internal Revenue Service.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Registration and Lunch
Arthur C. Brooks, AEI
Chris Van Hollen, US House of Representatives (D-MD)
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Arthur C. Brooks is the president of AEI and the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise. Until January 1, 2009, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. He is the author of 10 books and many articles on topics ranging from the economics of the arts to applied mathematics. His books include “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise,” “Social Entrepreneurship,” and “Who Really Cares.” Before pursuing his work in public policy, Brooks spent 12 years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles.
Chris Van Hollen, elected to Congress in 2002, represents Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. Currently serving his second term as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, he is a key point person on budget and economic legislation in the House. Before his election to the House, Rep. Van Hollen worked as a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and served four years in the Maryland House of Delegates and eight years in the Maryland Senate. He also worked as an attorney in private practice for 10 years.