Blog Post

DISCLOSE Act Fails to Pass

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist In what is being billed as a major defeat for the White House, the Senate failed to garner enough votes to pass the DISCLOSE Act, a bill designed to negatively impact campaign contributions to conservative candidates in the upcoming election. The prospects of passage appeared dim even before yesterday's vote when Sen. Olympia Snow (R-ME) announced that she would not support a revised version of the bill that was aimed at attracting the support of moderate Republicans. Shortly before the vote, Sen. Snowe complained to reporters that there had been "no hearings, no vetting, no attempt to bring people together” on the controversial bill. “I know the new routine on legislation these days is to ram and jam…but it really does take time…It really does require building a consensus.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the bill’s lead sponsor, tried to rescue the bill by revising the original version in a way that made the treatment of unions and corporations more balanced. As a result, the bill now requires unions as well as corporations and advocacy groups to reveal their roles in political ads or mailings in the closing months of a campaign. The DISCLOSE Act was intended to counter a ruling by the Supreme Court in Citizens United  vs. FEC that  struck down McCain-Feingold campaign-finance regulations that limited the rights of companies and associations to run political advertising. The Supreme Court ruled such restrictions are an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech.  Shortly after the decision was handed down, President Barack Obama publicly scolded the Justices at his State of the Union address and insiders say the White House was very much behind the effort to pass the DISCLOSE Act in order to give the Democratic party an advantage in the upcoming elections. However, as a result of Sen. Snowe's announcement, coupled with the decision of fellow state Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to also oppose the bill, Senate Democrats failed to attract enough votes to move the legislation forward. Even though the DISCLOSE Act may be raised again in a future session, it no longer has any chance of passing in time to impact the midterm elections. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®