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Obama urges Republicans to name political donors

August 21, 2010

US President Barack Obama Saturday urged Republican leaders in Congress not to block a bill aimed at reducing the role of big corporations and foreign entities in domestic elections.

"This should not be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "This is an issue that goes to whether or not we will have a democracy that works for ordinary Americans -- a government of, by, and for the people."

The president was referring to a landmark decision earlier this year by the US Supreme Court that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in elections could not be limited under the First Amendment to the constitution.

Obama said the ruling had allowed big corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence US elections without even having to reveal the real players behind the effort.

He added the Congress was considering a bipartisan proposal that would require corporate political advertisers to reveal who was funding their activities.

But the Republican leaders in Congress prevented the bill from even coming up for a vote, the president said.

"This can only mean that the leaders of the other party want to keep the public in the dark," Obama argued.

"They don't want you to know which interests are paying for the ads. The only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide."

The president said his administration could not allow what he called "the corporate takeover of our democracy."

"Let's challenge every elected official who benefits from these ads to defend this practice or join us in stopping it," Obama said.

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