Campaign spending disclosure laws exist to reduce the possibility of corruption in government. While all states require some type of disclosure from candidates and political committees, the extent of this disclosure varies. Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows outside groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns as long as they do not coordinate with candidates, state disclosure laws for these independent spenders are a crucial firewall to ensure voters have the opportunity to know who seeks to influence their elections and public officials.
This report draws on the National Institute of Money in State Politics’ 2014 scorecard on essential disclosure requirements for independent spending to ask whether states apply disclosure laws to any and all groups engaged in political spending and advocacy.
For a more detailed explanation of each factor, including citations, please download the full report.
State disclosure laws are a critical firewall to ensure that voters have the opportunity to know who may be influencing their elections and their public officials. State independent spending disclosure laws should be strengthened to include the following, taken from the National Institute on Money in State Politics’ “Essential Disclosure Requirements for Independent Spending” scorecard: