(CBS News) Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's new running mate, amended two years' worth of congressional financial disclosure reports in June to include an income-producing trust worth between $1 million and $5 million, USA Today reports.
The trust, which Ryan's wife Janna Ryan inherited in 2010 after her mother's death, was previously left off Ryan's financial disclosure reports. In documents filed with the Clerk of the House, Ryan said they were left off his 2010 and 2011 reports as an "inadvertent omission," according to USA Today. He reported that the trust produced at least $15,000 in income in 2010 and between $100,001 and $1 million in 2011.
Members of Congress every year are required to report their wealth and liabilities in broad ranges, so it's impossible to determine their exact net worth. USA Today notes that members of Congress often amend their financial disclosure reports as Ryan has and that there's nothing to suggest Ryan's omission wasn't inadvertent.Continue »
Republican strategist Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told Hotsheet in an interview Thursday that she believes there should be "full and immediate disclosure" of all campaign-related donations - despite her involvement with a trio of less-than-transparent outside groups.
Cheney helps oversee three groups she says are budgeted to spend $12 to $15 million in the 2010 campaign cycle: The Partnership for America's Future, the Alliance for America's Future, and a group called Send Harry Packing, which is focused on ousting Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. The groups are spending money on television ads in Nevada, Florida and New York, and are engaged in get out the vote efforts around the country.
The Partnership for America's Future, like Send Harry Packing, is a 527 organization, which means it must disclose its donors. But as Public Citizen's Taylor Lincoln discovered, that doesn't mean all that much: The Partnership for America's Future is fully funded by the Alliance for America's Future, a 501(c)(4) group that does not have to disclose where it gets its money.
"Mary Cheney did what we want, they disclosed," he said in an interview. "But the actual disclosure is utterly useless."
Asked about this, Cheney responded, "we are in full and complete compliance with all election laws and regulations."
"I look at it as we follow the rules that are laid out by the system," she said. "If the system were to change, we would change our requirements as well."
Cheney went on, however, to offer what she called her "personal view" - that the system should force all groups to disclose donors' identities.Continue »
Updated 5:49 p.m. Eastern Time
The House has passes the campaign finance reform bill known as the DISCLOSE Act by a vote of 219 to 206.
217 Democrats and two Republicans voted for the measure.
The DISCLOSE Act, or the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act, would require corporations to disclose top five donors in their political ads and the head of the company would be required to appear at the end of the ad.
But the bill exempts the NRA, AARP and the Humane Society from the requirements. It exempts 401C4 organizations with over 500,000 members.Continue »
Updated 3:38 p.m. Eastern Time
The White House today released a statement "strongly" supporting passage of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill designed to address the Supreme Court's controversial Citizen's United decision allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign advertising.
The bill mandates that corporations and unions spending on campaigns and running political advertising publicly identify top donors and related information.
"The Administration believes the DISCLOSE Act is a necessary measure so that Americans will know who is trying to influence the Nation's elections," the statement says. "H.R. 5175 also prevents those who should not interfere in the Nation's elections - like corporations controlled by foreign interests - from doing so. Unless strong new disclosure rules are established, the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case will give corporations even greater power to influence elections. "
Last week the National Rifle Association agreed not to oppose the bill in exchange for an exemption from its disclosure provisions, a deal that prompted anger on both left and right. While that deal was expected to pave the wave for the bill's passage in the House Friday, a planned vote was canceled amid concerns that the bill would not pass even as the exemptions were expanded to include other organizations besides the NRA.
In its statement, the administration said that the bill "is not perfect."Continue »