Anyone watching TV lately has likely seen an avalanche of campaign ads sponsored by groups like "Americans for Prosperity" or "American Crossroads." These advocacy ads are tied to so-called "shadow" groups working overtime it seems to keep their donors and details of their organization in the dark.
It all relates to a landmark Supreme Court ruling last January - known as the 'Citizens United' case - that for the first time gave corporations, unions and certain non-profits the right to pump money into ads that directly endorse or attack a candidate right through Election Day, without disclosing who is paying for them.
(Scroll down to watch Armen's report.)
Public interest groups like the Committee for Responsive Politics have questioned such spending. New York City's Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has gone one aggressive step further -- securing pledges from corporations like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo, Microsoft and Dell, among others, to keep cash from their treasuries out of the upcoming mid term elections.
Today de Blasio took yet another significant step. In conjunction with prominent elected officials in three other states he announced the creation of a national coalition - CAPS for short -- designed to ensure greater transparency and accountability in corporate spending on political campaigns. "The closer we get to Election Day, the more evidence we see of corporate dollars being secretly poured into races across the country," said de Blasio.
From where I sit - and, one imagines, the public's point of view -- de Blasio deserves credit for fighting to bring such secrets to light.