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Will Secret Money’s Biggest Beneficiary Josh Mandel Support The DISCLOSE Act?

Shadowy Outside Groups Have Boosted Mandel’s Campaign To The Tune Of $10.6 Million, More Than Any Other Senate Candidate In The Country.

Today the Senate will take a key vote on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would shine a light on the outside, secret money being spent this election cycle in the wake of the Citizens United decision. Shadowy special interest groups have already spent more than $10.6 million (with another $6.7 million already promised) to boost Josh Mandel’s floundering campaign with false, misleading attack ads against Sherrod Brown.

Mandel and his campaign first heralded the outside money in the race, then decried it, thenrefused to comment about it and then commented about it. But despite their apparent confusion, last week, Mandel said, “I strongly believe in transparency. I think it’s an important component to our country and our political system.”

So just one question – will Josh Mandel, with his self-proclaimed strong belief in transparency, support the DISCLOSE Act that would enhance transparency in future elections?

“Shadowy special interest groups have spent more than $10.6 million to keep Josh Mandel’s campaign afloat, but will he take his supposed belief in transparency to the bank and come out in support of the DISCLOSE Act, or was that simply another Josh Mandel lie?” said Sadie Weiner, spokeswoman for Friends of Sherrod Brown. “After hiring unqualified cronies at the Treasurer’s office, skipping every Board of Deposit meeting his first year in office, and refusing to answer basic questions about the FBI investigation of his shady campaign cash, Josh Mandel has proven he is just another politician who can’t be trusted.”

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Background

Headline: “Outside Spending Against Brown Hits $10 Million.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 7/10/12]

DISCLOSE Act Is “The Kind of Campaign Finance Legislation Senators On Both Sides Of The Aisle Once Rallied Behind.”  In July 2012, U.S. News and World Report wrote “The Senate is expected to hit the ground running Monday when it takes up the DISCLOSE Act, the kind of campaign finance legislation senators on both sides of the aisle once rallied behind.” [U.S. News and World Report, 7/12/12]

DISCLOSE Act Would Require Any Group That Spends Over $10,000 On Political Advertisements To File A Report And Disclose Donors.  In July 2012, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that a new version of the DISCLOSE Act was introduced in the Senate and that the legislation would require any group that spends more than $10,000 on political advertisements to file a report each time it does so, and to disclose the names of donors of more than $10,000.” [Center for Responsive Politics, 7/13/12]

Analysis: Most Groups Spending On Elections Don’t Have To Disclose Their Donors.  In Juue 2012, U.S. News and World Report wrote “No one knows where a majority of the money in federal elections in the last two years came from.  Secretive nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors are responsible for this, having spent significantly more than Super PACs on elections in the 2010 elections, according to the Center for Public Integrity and Center for Responsive Politics.  Nonprofits have spent $95 million on elections in 2010, while Super PACs, which are required to disclose their donors, have spent $65 million, the Centers found.” [U.S. News and World Report, 6/19/12]

Mandel’s Refusal To Answer Questions About His Positions Makes It Difficult To Gauge How He Would Vote As Senator.  In July 2012, The Dayton Daily News wrote “Mandel routinely refuses to answer media questions about his positions on pending bills before Congress, making it difficult to gauge how he might vote as a U.S. senator.”  [Dayton Daily News, 7/7/12]

The Mandel Campaign Has “Flat-Out Refused To Take A Position On Issues.”  In April 2012, The Youngstown Vindicator reported “Portman said he’s supporting Mandel because the latter has ‘better policies’ than Brown on issues such as tax relief, energy independence and trade. That’s interesting as Mandel and his campaign have been resistant to discuss the candidate’s policies in specifics, and in some cases, they have flat-out refused to take a position on issues. Maybe Mandel is telling Portman things he’s not yet told the rest of us.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 4/27/12]

“Mandel Has Taken Flak For Not Answering Press Questions On Specific Bills.”  In April 2012, The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “Mandel has taken flak for not answering press questions on specific bills.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/28/12]

When Asked About Why He Won’t Say How He’ll Vote In The Senate “Mandel Fumbled For An Answer.” In January 2012 The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “Predicting what kind of senator he would be is made tougher by the fact that his spokesman has publicly discouraged reporters from asking for Mandel’s thoughts on active legislation. Mandel, the spokesman said, will not ‘pretend like he’s there and voting on every bill.’  Asked in a recent interview about this stealth approach, Mandel fumbled for an answer.  ‘Certain issues that are brought up in Washington . . . if I choose to have my own plan and present my own plan later in the year, I would rather choose my own plan than have to pretend that I’m one of these politicians in Washington on some, on a bad plan,’ Mandel said.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, ellipsis original, 01/30/12]