Saturday, October 9, 2010



New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell and Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel today announced the creation of a national coalition to reduce the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending or CAPS will coordinate efforts in different cities and states across the Country to ensure transparency in the expenditure of corporate funds for campaign advertising in the wake of Citizens United. Specifically coalition members will demand accountability from companies that receive public investments or apply for government contracts. In addition CAPS will advocate for legislation on the local, state and federal level to create greater disclosure of corporate political spending. More information on CAPS can be found at its new website:

We are launching a coalition of leaders from across the country to protect our nation’s democracy from being undermined by limitless corporate spending,” said New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “The closer we get to Election Day, the more evidence we see of corporate dollars being secretly poured into races around the country. I am proud to be joined by leaders from cities and states across America in forming CAPS to fight back against this disturbing trend and demand greater accountability and transparency from the corporate world.”

I have an obligation to the people of Pennsylvania to provide careful financial stewardship,” said Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord. “This role prompts me to highlight concerns about an 'agency' problem -- in which managers are at odds with shareholders -- due to the contentious Citizens United decision. Investors must now worry that shareholders will not know what managers are doing with corporate resources. Secret political spending clearly damages any drive for transparency and accountability.”

One issue that unites Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – is that they want to slow the flood of corporate special interest money into campaigns,” said City Controller Wendy Greuel. “This coalition is the first step in actually doing something about it, by holding these big money interests accountable. I want to applaud my longtime friend New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for spearheading this effort.”

Now more than ever we need to curb the influence of corporate money in elections,” said New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. “We've all seen what happens when Wall Street is given free rein. As New York State Comptroller, I've worked on behalf of taxpayers to ensure that companies the Common Retirement Fund invests in are held accountable for their actions. CAPS is a extension of that work. When corporations buy elections, all Americans lose. CAPS is a vital counterweight to the outsize influence corporate money and corporate power on our political process.”

According to FEC electioneering reports, 501(c) groups have been buying ads in many of the coalition members’ states:
  • Illinois: At least $340,000 in spending reported in September by Americans for Prosperity, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and America Future Fund
  • New York: At least $1.4 million in spending reported in September by Americans for Job Security, Revere America, The 60 Plus Association, and NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • Pennsylvania: At least $2.4 million in spending reported in September by The 60 Plus Association, the National Wildlife Action Fund, Club for Growth Action, Americans for Job Security,, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Senate Republicans blocked the DISCLOSE Act for the second time this year. This legislation, which would require corporations to reveal their roles in political ads and prohibit companies from underwriting “electioneering communications,” would counteract the effects of Citizens United.” The blockage of this legislation further undermines years of campaign finance reform dismantled by Citizens United and highlights the need for voluntary action by corporations to help reduce the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision.