Tester calls out Senate colleagues for blocking transparency and accountability

Senator casts only vote to ensure that contractors disclose campaign contributions

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is calling out Senate leaders from both parties for standing in the way of efforts to bring more transparency and accountability to Washington.

Tester is a member of the Senate Government Affairs Committee.  The panel today debated a bill that would block public disclosure of campaign contributions made by corporations that contract with the federal government. 

Tester was the only committee member to vote against the bill.

“I’ve said from the beginning that I don’t think corporations should have more power than people,” Tester said.  “People disclose, and corporations ought to be required to disclose, and this is one of the ways we can force them to disclose.”

Tester continued, “This has to do with our democracy.  It is at risk as long as corporations can buy Senate seats without any transparency.  This is an opportunity to get at that, and I don’t think we should miss that opportunity.”

Numerous independent government watchdogs, including the Sunlight Foundation and the League of Women Voters, also oppose the bill.

“Congress should be making laws that promote more transparency in government, rather than decreasing it,” said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.  “If passed, the Keeping Politics out of Federal Contracting Act (S. 1100) would allow money funneled by government contractors to candidates’ campaigns to remain in the shadows and kept secret from the public.  By opposing this bill today, Senator Tester demonstrated that ‘pay-to-play’ politics must be counted with more disclosure, not more secrecy.”

Tester recently requested an independent ethics review of himself and his staff.  Retired Montana Supreme Court Justice William Leaphart found that Tester’s ethics policies go above and beyond the ethics requirements of the U.S. Senate.

Video of Tester’s hearing is available online HERE.