WASHINGTON, July 16 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today urged the Senate to pass legislation that would require corporations and others to publicly disclose big donations to independent political groups.
The Senate is expected to debate late into tonight the measure cosponsored by Sanders that would require public filings with the Federal Election Commission by organizations that give $10,000 or more to sway the outcome of elections.
The measure is a response to the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court Citizens United decision, which lifted limits on campaign spending by corporations and wealthy individuals.
In remarks prepared for delivery in a Senate floor speech tonight, Sanders said:
"At a time when the middle class is collapsing, poverty is increasing and when the wealthiest people in our country are doing phenomenally well - this Supreme Court decision moves us further and further away from our democratic traditions and closer and closer to becoming an oligarchic society in which virtually all wealth and power rest in the hands of a small number of extremely wealthy people.
"As a result of the Citizens United ruling that gutted campaign finance laws, the wealthiest Americans that already control the country's economic life are now spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy candidates and elections. In other words, not content to own coal companies and oil companies and gambling casinos, they now want to fully own the United States government. We must not allow that to happen.
"We all remember Abraham Lincoln's wonderful remarks at Gettysburg in which he describes America as a country ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.' Well, with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision we are rapidly becoming a nation of the very rich, by the very rich and for the very rich. And that is a horrendous tragedy."