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Biden to press for donor transparency bill, Schumer pledges action this week

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday afternoon on legislation to require the disclosure of donors to dark money groups that raise huge sums of money to influence elections.

The remarks come after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday that he plans to hold a vote on the Democratic bill this week.

“This bill would fight the cancer of dark money in our elections and require dark money groups to report campaign contributions,” Schumer said in a statement.

The legislation requires disclosures of donors giving $10,000 or more to a super PAC or 501(c)(4) group in an election cycle. It has been repeatedly introduced in over the last decade, but is unlikely to gain Republican support after years of their opposition. There are currently no Republican co-sponsors of the legislation.

The so-called DISCLOSE Act was initially drafted by Democrats as a response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 that allows for unlimited spending by corporations and unions on elections. Schumer’s announcement comes months after he said the bill would receive a vote in the full chamber.

Whitehouse told NBC News on Monday that he would support the bill “even if it were the case” that Democrats now raise more money from anonymous donors than Republicans.

“The important thing is — what I’d like to see is that we could get together as Democrats and Republicans and put an end to this poisonous nonsense in our political system,” Whitehouse told NBC News. “And unfortunately, I think what we’ll see is that the Republicans have become so dependent on it, and so enamored of it that they will fight to protect it rather than fight for cleaning up our democracy.”

Earlier this year, top Senate Republicans reiterated their opposition to new requirements on the disclosure of donors. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a series of attacks on left-leaning “dark money,” in particular the organization Demand Justice, amid then-Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings.

“I’m in favor of the way campaigns and issues are currently funded,” McConnell said in March, referring to independent 501(c)(4) groups that can raise hefty sums of money and conceal donors. “There are rational reasons for not having disclosure for those entities. That’s been my position for a quarter of a century and remains my position.”

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