REMINDER: Susan Collins Was Deciding Vote in the Senate Blocking Dark Money Transparency Disclosure

Collins decries dark money spending but fails to mention she voted against the DISCLOSE Act and has been the beneficiary of conservative dark money spending

In 2010, Senator Susan Collins cast the deciding vote to block legislation requiring dark money groups reveal the sources of their funding, period. In the aftermath of Collins’ controversial vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, dark money poured into Maine “to thank her for her vote.”

Now that she’s facing the toughest re-election fight of her political career as her support from Mainers plummets in this toss-up race, Collins is upset that she is the target of dark money spending:

  • Maine Public, September 6: “[P]eople should know where this money is coming from, and I do support disclosure. … I've never had so much money spent against me in negative ads so early. … And we don't know who's paying for those. … I think that the people from Maine have a right to know. And I feel that way regardless of who these groups are. I think that you should, just as I have to disclose all of my contributions and file reports with the FEC, I think they should have to disclose where the source of their money is coming from, regardless whether they're for me or against me. … Who are they? Where's their money coming from?”
  • Steven Dennis, August 22: “She said she’s always been for disclosure but voted no … Susan Collins says today she would support legislation if it requires all political groups to disclose their donors.”
  • Bloomberg, July 21: “‘[T]he unceasing attacks by dark money groups in Maine have clearly had an impact,’ Collins said”

And when Collins was asked whether or not she would call on potential friendly dark money groups to disclose their donors, she said: “I think we should have a level playing field.

Collins’ deciding vote against the DISCLOSE Act enabled continued dark money spending in our elections. According to the Sunlight Foundation, “Because of the failure to enact the DISCLOSE Act, there are virtually no disclosure rules that apply to 501(c) organizations and, in the case of Super PACs, limited disclosure rules allow money to be laundered through shell 501(c) organizations so that the actual donors are never disclosed."