President Biden on Tuesday endorsed legislation to disclose super PAC donors, arguing that so-called dark money erodes public trust.
“Dark money erodes public trust. We need to erode public trust and I’m determined to do that,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “Dark money has become so common in our politics. I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
The Disclose Act would require super PACs and other dark money groups to report those who contribute $10,000 or more during an election season.
Biden mentioned a recent $1.6 billion donation to a political advocacy group, the largest donation to such an entity in U.S. history, from a conservative activist who had worked to overturn Roe v. Wade. The donation was only discovered because of reporting from The New York Times.
“There’s much too much money that flows in the shadows to influence our elections. It’s called dark money. It's hidden. Right now, advocacy groups can run ads on issues attacking or supporting a candidate right until Election Day without disclosing who’s paying for that ad,” he said.
Biden also noted that foreign entities use dark money loopholes to try to influence U.S. elections. The president said that he has proposed publicly funding all U.S. elections but that he doesn't “have the support for that position,” calling this bill a second position “that is very good.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday that the chamber will vote later this week on the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in April.
Biden urged Republicans to vote for the legislation.
“Getting dark money out of our politics has been a bipartisan issue in the past,” he said, noting that the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fought for campaign finance reform.
Without support from at least 10 Republicans, the legislation will fail in the Senate because it won’t receive the 60 votes needed to overcome the legislative filibuster.