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Middle class families deserve to be heard in Congress – heard and listened to. They deserve to know that the programs their families rely on, from Pell Grants, to Medicare, to Social Security, will continue to be there for them.

They deserve a democracy that lives up to the one they were promised, one that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” – a democracy where everyone is equal at that ballot box.

But in 2010, the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision opened the floodgates of unlimited, secret spending in our elections – and we have watched as secret funding has tried to drown out the voice of middle class voters.

In the 2010 election cycle, the first following Citizens United, the amount of undisclosed, secret money in our elections amounted to $135 million. Anonymous donations from outside groups went from 1% of 2006 election spending to a whopping 44% in 2010.

Big donors often turn to secret donations – and the question is, why? What are they hiding? Independent watchdog groups have found that groups who do not disclose spend 85% of their money on deceptive ads. Why do they want to deceive? Are secret donors afraid that they would have to answer to customers and shareholders for the political ads they are secretly funding?

As citizens, we have the right to know who is trying to influence our votes and what their motives are – you can bet, they don’t spend that kind of money without a motive!

That’s why I introduced the DISCLOSE Act. The DISCLOSE Act will shine a bright light on the secret money being dumped into our elections since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

The U.S. Senate will vote today on the DISCLOSE Act and it will take a groundswell of public support to pass this bill. People will have to make their voices heard. You can let it be known that secret money has no place in our democracy.

By standing up for the DISCLOSE Act you can help take back our democracy – and make sure Congress listens to you and your families, not the secret donors who spend millions of dollars promoting their own interests.

Sheldon Whitehouse is the junior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island. You can follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook at  The discussion about tonight’s vote on the DISCLOSE Act can be followed with the hashtag #DISCLOSEVote.

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