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Real-time disclosure of political spending is needed

Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court has given more ability to funnel contributions into campaigns. Its Citizens United ruling four years ago opened up the floodgates for unlimited spending in our elections. And now, with its decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, it might as well have tied a big bow around Congress and deliver it to what one may consider “unknown-to-the-public” entities.

By striking down the longstanding campaign finance regulations, the Supreme Court has permitted the unseemly spectacle of a single donor being able to contribute more than $3.5 million to one party during an election cycle, although I am not as concerned about unlimited contributions (I believe that only so much money can actually be utilized effectively with a campaign). I do believe that the public has a right to know who is contributing to political candidate campaigns, parties, action committees, and political nonprofits.

In this day and age, there is absolutely no reason why real-time instant disclosure of contributions isn’t possible from the lowest level campaign such as a township supervisor all the way up to the president of the United States.

It’s more clear than ever: We need real-time transparency of political spending so the public can know what political allegiances and alliances candidates hold. It’s technologically possible, so there’s no reason Congress should not act fast to enact legislation to mandate disclosure of contributions.

The Real Time Transparency Act would require 48-hour disclosure of so-called hard money campaign contributions of $1,000 or more to candidates, committees and parties. Disclosure will also apply to contributions to and transfers from joint fundraising committees.

Let’s ask Congress to pass the Real Time Transparency Act.

Aaron Lee Wittnebel is the Mayor of Lake Park, Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter via @AaronLakePark

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