Maryland Common Cause: “At a time when voters are overwhelmingly frustrated and incensed by the corrupt flow of money in our political system, it is disheartening and unfortunate to see a Senate candidate highlight the President of Citizens United at a political fundraiser.”
Kensington, MD — Tonight Delegate Kathy Szeliga, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, is hosting a fundraiser with special guest Dave Bossie, President of Citizens United. Bossie was behind the Supreme Court case that opened the floodgates to secret outside money in elections and has led to an exponential growth in Super PACs.
This special interest fundraiser with Republican officials isn’t Citizens United first involvement in the Maryland Senate Race. They’ve already spent $35,000 on behalf of Delegate Szeliga in this election.
Campaign spokeswoman Bridgett Frey said, “Citizens United has been the driving force behind the deluge of secret outside money that is choking our democracy. Now they are coming into Maryland to get Delegate Szeliga to do their bidding. Rather than embrace the architects of secret money in politics, Delegate Szeliga should publicly embrace the DISCLOSE Act and join Chris Van Hollen in calling for transparency, accountability, and an end to dark money in politics. Voters want a leader who will put working families first, not politicians who promote big money secret outside special interests at the expense of Maryland families.”
Maryland Common Cause also weighed in. “Five years ago, a group called Citizens United changed our political landscape. Their legal challenge led to a ruling by the Supreme Court that independent political spending is a form of speech, and therefore protected under the First Amendment. That ruling has opened the floodgates to independent expenditures at the national, state, and local levels,” they wrote. “Common Cause Maryland has long warned that the impact of the Citizen’s United decision would be felt here in state and local races. But we did not anticipate that the group itself would begin to impact state races so directly. At a time when voters are overwhelmingly frustrated and incensed by the corrupt flow of money in our political system, it is disheartening and unfortunate to see a Senate candidate highlight the President of Citizens United at a political fundraiser. Since the Supreme Court’s now infamous decision, billions of dollars have flooded our elections by third party spenders. There is a problem with our democracy when everyday citizens no longer feel like their vote makes a difference. Common Cause Maryland has been working to undo the damage Citizens United did to our democracy through policies such as citizen funded elections and greater transparency requirements for independent spenders in the state. We are also working nationwide to call on all candidates for Congressional office to pledge to fight big money in our system. We hope that every candidate from Maryland will join this fight.”
Chris Van Hollen is a national leader fighting to to end secret money in elections. He is the author of the DISCLOSE Act, which would increase transparency in our political process — legislation that was strongly opposed by David Bossie and Citizens United. He is also leading this effort in the federal court and has been attacked by a Koch brothers-funded group for this work.
Van Hollen has championed campaign finance reform since his days in the Maryland legislature. He is working to establish a new presidential election financing system and reduce the influence of outside special interest money. He is also the House author of the successful legislation to require lobbyists to disclose bundling of campaign contributions.