Senate Democrats

How it’s Playing: Senate GOP block the DISCLOSE Act

AP – Senate GOP block campaign spending disclosure bill - Senate Republicans blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend. GOP opposition prevented Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote was 51-44. Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads. [AP,7/16/12]

Reuters – Senate Republicans block campaign disclosure bill – Senate Republicans blocked a bid by Democrats on Monday to require political fundraising groups to reveal their anonymous contributors who are fueling negative television advertisements ahead of the November election. By a 51-44 party line vote, supporters of the Disclose Act of 2012 fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a Republican procedural hurdle. But Democrats promised to debate the bill late into the night and seek another vote on Tuesday, hoping to paint Republicans as thwarting transparency. [Reuters,7/16/12]

Bloomberg – Senate Republicans Block Campaign Donor Disclosure Bill - The U.S. Senate didn’t advance legislation that would require nonprofit groups to reveal who donates the millions of dollars they spend on campaign ads. Yesterday’s vote on the Democratic proposal was 51-44, with 60 required to advance it. The measure, opposed by Republicans, is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 that removed limits on independent spending by corporations and labor unions. Democrats said they would seek another vote today. Groups that kept their donors secret favored Republicans over Democrats in 2010 by $117 million to $13 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign contributions. Such groups included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business lobby, and Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. [Bloomberg, 7/17/12]

CBS News – Senate GOP block campaign spending disclosure bill – Senate Republicans blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend. GOP opposition prevented Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote was 51-44. Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads. [CBS News, 7/17/12]

NY Times (Editorial) - The Power of Anonymity – Two years ago, Congress came within a single Republican vote in the Senate of following the Supreme Court’s advice to require broad disclosure of campaign finance donors. The justices wanted voters to be able to decide for themselves “whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.” The court advised such disclosure in its otherwise disastrous Citizens United decision in 2010, which loosed a new wave of unlimited spending on political campaigns. The decision’s anticorruption prescription has grown even more compelling as hundreds of millions of dollars in disguise have flooded the 2012 campaigns — a great deal of it washed through organizations that are set up for the particular purpose of hiding the names of the writers of enormous checks. [NY Times, 7/17/12]

WSJ – Senate Democrats Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ on Campaign Finance Bill - The Disclosed Act—which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections—would require groups to file a public report listing all donors that gave the group $10,000 or more.Democrats are frustrated that recent decisions by the Supreme Court, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, removed restrictions on political spending and allowed donors to spend large sums supporting or opposing candidates without identifying themselves. More Republican than Democratic donors are availing themselves of this new freedom. Some contributors are openly identifying themselves, such as casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has backed Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, and Leo Linbeck III, a Texas construction magnate whose super PAC is aimed at making primaries more competitive. Others have remained behind-the-scenes, and critics say that lets them unfairly affect elections from the shadows. [WSJ, 7/16/12]

 

Washington Post (Editorial) – Expose the fat cats - AMERICANS WHO are worried about the corrosive power of big money in politics ought to watch what is about to happen in the Senate. On Monday, a cloture vote is scheduled on legislation that would require the disclosure of donors anonymously pumping tens of millions of dollars into this year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. Not a single Republican in the chamber has expressed support for the bill, known as the Disclose Act, meaning it will probably die for this session. It should be interesting to hear how the Republican senators justify this monumental concealment of campaign cash. [Washington Post,7/16/12]

 

Daily Beast – GOP Kills DISCLOSE Act and Leaves Voters in the Dark- The DISCLOSE Act was summarily executed via filibuster in the Senate last night. But this is one symbolic vote that mattered, because it offered at least an attempt to address the flow of hidden money into our elections. But wait, you say—the promise of Citizens United was to balance unlimited money with unprecedented transparency. Well, brace yourself, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. In fact, the trade of cash for transparency has been undercut by a variety of vehicles, especially the use of 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations grafted onto super PACs that allow for anonymous donations and big-ticket expenditures that we won’t see until the election is in the rearview mirror. [Daily Beast,7/17/12]

 

Huffington Post – DISCLOSE Campaign Spending Act Blocked By Senate Republicans – Senate Republicans blocked a bill Monday evening to increase transparency in campaign spending by independent groups. In a 51-44 vote, the DISCLOSE Act failed to obtain the 60 votes needed to clear a Republican filibuster. The bill would have required disclosure of anyone who donates to independent groups that spent more than $10,000 on campaign ads — or their functional equivalent — and other election spending. [Huffington Post, 7/17/12]

The Hill – Dems hold ‘midnight vigil’ to protest defeat of DISCLOSE bill – Senate Democrats launched a rare, all-night debate on Monday that was scheduled to last past midnight, to protest Senate Republicans’ opposition to legislation that would require companies, unions and other groups to report their campaign spending. Democrats warned that they would hold a “midnight vigil” if Republicans blocked the vote on their bill, and they began shortly before 7 p.m., just minutes after GOP did in fact unanimously oppose the bill. Democrats were hoping to end debate on the bill, which needed 60 votes, but the vote failed 51-44. Democrats immediately lined up more than a dozen speakers, and planned to debate the bill until 1 a.m., and then take up the issue again Tuesday morning. [The Hill, 7/16/12]

National Journal – Senate GOP Unanimously Votes to Block DISCLOSE Act – In a 51-44 vote Monday night, Senate Republicans unanimously voted to block the Democratically backed DISCLOSE Act, which would have required political organizations to disclose the names of donors who give $10,000 or more. Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that if Congress doesn’t do something to curb the torrents of money being spent on political campaigns by secret donors,  said today, then “17 angry old white men will wake up” on the morning after Election Day, “and realize they’ve just bought the country.” With that rip-snorting salvo at the wealthy donors who have been giving seven-figure contributions to shadowy political groups and Super PACs, the Senate Democrats opened debate on Monday on the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act – a measure that would require that political organizations disclose all donors who give them more than $10,000. [National Journal, 7/16/12]

Washington Times – Republicans block bill on transparency - Senate Democrats on Monday failed to move forward on legislation that calls for more strict disclosures for political spending, as Republicans easily blocked a mostly symbolic procedural vote on the measure less than a week after Democrats blasted House Republicans for holding a token vote to repeal health care. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, who has characterized the so-called Disclose Act as a threat to the First Amendment, led a successful filibuster to defeat the measure during an evening vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, was expected to try again Tuesday. But with the Democratic leader eight votes shy of the 60 needed to advance the measure, the bill is all but dead. [Washington Times, 7/17/12]

BuzzFeed – Senate Dems Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ For Campaign Finance Bill - Democrats are preparing to put on a two day campaign finance floor show in the Senate, scheduling a handful of votes and a “midnight vigil” for increased disclosure of who, exactly, is donating to the outside groups underwriting both Barack Obama’s and — to a larger degree — Mitt Romney’s campaigns for president. The bill has virtually no chance of passage – a fact of which its sponsors are keenly aware. But Democrats hope to use the legislation to point a finger at Republicans on the new flood of cash.Led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Chuck Schumer, Democrats this evening will force a the first of two votes on the Disclose Act, legislation designed to force Super PACs to disclose large dollar donors. [BuzzFeed, 7/16/12]

Boston Globe – GOP blocks political-ad disclosure bill - Senate Republicans again foiled Democrats in their efforts to pass a bill expanding disclosures of donors to independent political groups. The latest effort Monday on the Democrats’ measure, dubbed the DISCLOSE Act, fell short of breaking a Republican filibuster. Needing 60 votes, Democrats garnered only 51. The bill would require big spenders, including unions, corporations, and nonprofits, to disclose donations exceeding $10,000 to independent groups. Democrats contend such rules are needed since the Supreme Court, in its 2010 Citizens United decision, declared that corporations and unions have a constitutional right to spend freely on elections. The decision led to the rise of super PACs and nonprofit groups, which have been major players in national politics, especially the race for president. [Boston Globe,7/16/12]

The Examiner – GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency – On Monday evening United States Senate Republicans blocked a vote to move forward the 2012 version of the Disclose Act, a bill designed to bring greater transparency of donations to political groups by people, corporations and unions of more than $10,000. After the vote Democrats spent time until well after midnight continuing their floor debate on the bill. After more floor debate Tuesday morning, Senate Democrats plan to hold another vote on the bill Tuesday at 3:00 pm. [The Examiner, 7/17/12]

 

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