Campaign finance regulations move forward in Senate

This bill still disadvantages corporations relative to unions, but not as badly as the House bill. That said, when things go to conference Republicans have to worry that Democrats will put in whatever they want.

Sen. Charles Schumer has introduced a new version of a controversial campaign-finance reform bill opposed by Republicans and special-interest groups, and hopes to force a vote on the measure as early as next week.

Schumer, chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee – which has jurisdiction over campaign-finance issues – dropped the new bill Wednesday night.

The New York Democrat, aware that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP leaders will move to block it, will try to bring the measure to the Senate floor without first marking it up in committee. He is seeking a cloture vote on the legislation before the Senate recesses for the August break, possibly by next week, according to a Senate aide.

Schumer’s revised version of the DISCLOSE (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) Act differs in several ways from the version passed by the House in June.

The bill would require corporations, unions and advocacy groups to reveal their roles in political ads or mailings in the closing months of a campaign. Companies that receive TARP funding and smaller government contractors are also barred from underwriting “electioneering communications.” . . .

The measure is vehemently opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other special-interest groups that see it as an attempt to muzzle their involvement in the political process.

But Democrats believe the legislation is necessary to prevent corporations and advocacy groups from dumping tens of millions of dollars into federal races without having to acknowledge their role in such activities.

Schumer has left intact a contentious provision exempting the National Rifle Association and several other large organizations from the reporting requirements of the legislation. But he has removed other language that had been backed by the AFL-CIO and other unions excusing the labor organizations from having to report money transfers between affiliates. . . .



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