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Northam calls for dark money disclosure law

ralph northamLt. Gov. Ralph Northam called for a new law to require dark money groups, regardless of their tax status, to disclose their contributors if they spend money to influence Virginia’s elections.

Other states have already passed similar legislation. Montana adopted a bipartisan proposal in 2015, called the DISCLOSE Act, that requires “any group regardless of their tax status, that spends money or resources to influence an election within 60 days of when voting begins, must disclose how they are spending that money and the source of the money.”

In Virginia, there is bipartisan support for this action. In the last legislative session, State Sen. Bill DeSteph proposed a bill to remove language from Virginia law that exempted 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations from campaign finance reporting requirements.

Northam is calling on Tom Perriello to join him in supporting this new law. After the Citizens United decision, a bipartisan attempt to pass a DISCLOSE Act on the federal level fell short.

Of the proposal, Northam communications director David Turner said:

“Citizens United forever changed the way politics is funded in our country. It has increased the size of donations and removed transparency. Virginia has an opportunity to change that, and I hope Tom Perriello will join Lt. Gov. Northam in calling for legislation to force any group that spends money to influence Virginia’s elections to disclose its donors. While he may have disagreed with fully implementing this reform while in Congress, he has an opportunity to rectify his previous position now with this simple measure.

“Really, it’s simple. If groups will donate and spend hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars, Virginians should know where the money is coming from.”

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