DISCLOSE Act Blocked in the Senate

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Earlier this evening, the DISCLOSE Act died in the Senate by a vote of 51-44. The bill would make have made it harder to anonymously donate money to politically active organizations by requiring that corporations, unions, super PACs and others report “campaign expenditures” over $10,000 within 24 hours. As expected, Republicans unanimously opposed the bill. Democrats are holding a late session tonight to make speeches in favor of the legislation, which needed 60 votes to proceed.

In a statement, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the sponsor of the bill, explained the need for the fillibuster, which Democrats are calling a “midnight vigil”:

“Putting an end to secret election spending by special interests is an essential step in protecting middle class priorities. For that reason, we are committed to continuing the debate on the DISCLOSE Act late into the night and asking for a second vote tomorrow if need be,” Whitehouse said. “We can’t let the special interests off the hook after just one round.”

Over the weekend, Politico columnist Adam Skaggs noted that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “launched a full-throated attack on the DISCLOSE Act” over the past few weeks in an editorial.

“DISCLOSE supporters say it ensures transparency and accountability in U.S. elections. McConnell, however, contends it’s a vehicle for intimidation that will squelch political speech and let the Obama administration compile an ‘old-school enemies list’ to punish critics.

Central to McConnell’s strongest indictment is that the bill is a lawless end run to get around the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. McConnell seems to suggest the Democrats’ actions are not only wrong — they’re un-American.”

The trouble with McConnell’s argument is that it completely misrepresents what the Supreme Court actually had to say in the Citizens United decision. The justices were enthusiastically in favor of disclosure, by a margin of 8 to 1. Justice Kennedy wrote: “This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”

The Sunlight Foundation: Republicans have a long history of supporting disclosure in campaign finance
To help voters make sense of the spin, the Sunlight Foundation began a series of blog posts last week — What You Should Know about the DISCLOSE Act — starting with the story of how the bill came to be. In another post, they produced a video that points out many Republicans, including Sen. McConnell, supported increased disclosure requirements prior to Citizens United, when they had less to lose. As The Washington Post noted in an editorial entitled “Expose the fat cats,” that “[n]ow that the tide of money is running in their favor, they don’t.” Post editors challenged senators to do the right thing:

“Credibility is a precious thing. In their lust for contributions, in cozying up to the moneybags of this era, candidates and political operatives in both parties seem to be forgetting that they put their own credibility at risk. There is a very good chance that when some government decision or vote comes along next year, responsible politicians will find themselves haunted by the secret money of the 2012 campaign.

Is it really worth it? Do these donors deserve to remain hidden? Why can’t they handle a little sunshine? We’d like to see a few courageous Republicans rise in the Senate on Monday and declare: Enough is enough.”

When it comes to campaign finance anonymity, Senate Republicans apparently think there can never be enough.

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  • enough of live lips McConnell

    Bought and paid for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1554520103 Suzanne Whitaker

    What a crock!

  • Shari

    If you signed the recall petition against Scott Walker, your name is in a searchable database, but if you gave a billion dollars to a superpac to support him, no one should know? This is so wrong!!!!!!

  • Standards

    So, it appears it is wrong to act in opposition to a Supreme Court decision in one case, but completely correct to do so in another (PPACA).  Does that seem right to you?

  • Anonymous

    The hypocrite republicans were all for disclosure in 2000… McConnell, Boehner, Sessions, blah blah blah… http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/104133/full-disclosure-praise-fred-hiatt

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UJTEAQTFBXCJAZG3QOZGW2FMBI Shawn

    Do they say everthing that Dems do in un-American???? Wow!!!

  • Publiccomments

    51…which Democrat(s) stabbed the American people in the back, and who was absent? Names please.

  • http://profiles.google.com/michaelgreen327 Michael Green

    What too many fail to grasp is that it is time to consider Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution.  Has anyone noticed that Republican leaders give aid and comfort to the enemy by trying to weaken the country?

  • Lindarolf

    Our government is going rogue right in front of our eyes.  We need transparency not obfuscation!  If Romney gets elected imagine how much worse it will get!  How can we take our country back from these thieves and charlatans?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Georgann-Putintsev/100000385448185 Georgann Putintsev

    What got me was one of my favorite , let me know what’s going on sites “Campaign for Liberty” did a spin on this requesting subscriber’s to contact their Senators to NOT PASS this Bill S.3369.  And they $old it that everybody would get listed to the government — not just those contributing $10,000.00 or more e/month.  So it was a fear tactic, saying the Government could use being on that list against you. 
    What’s is mind boggling is that this is the SAME group who want to AUDIT the FED.  So a bill to Audit the Fed and tell us where, who, & how they $pend, Loan and make money… isn’t required  for PAC Groups and full political contribution disclosure is wrong?  One of the things I routinely do is check contributors to political candidates to see if they OWE anything to a Corporation, Institute, Law Firm, Local Group that can affect me, my community, my liberties.   Because we all know they lie or waffle based on the current group they are speaking too.
    So my advice to everyone who contacts their Senator on a whim of their T-Party actually read the Bill by visiting Thomass Jefferson Library of Congress site.  Do not fall prey to FEAR.  Light the torch of Liberty with TRUTH first. 

  • Roadrunnerbooks

    we truly have the best politicians money can buy…

  • Lhsymonds

    Again we are shown, we have the best congress money can buy.

  • Faithfulreader

    One of the good things about growing old, is that we have seen these kind of greedy politicans before, and everyone one of them; who called evil good and good evil, and preferred to hide in the dark, eventually self destructed and disappeared. 

  • Anonymous

    And what was the Democrat’s position? Riiight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diona.bidwell Diona Bidwell

    Well, Citizens United opened the gates to widespread and horrifying corruption, so that needs to go too! Transparency and disclosure, along with the ridding of Corporations as a Person, is the first thing that needs done in this country. The second thing would be to fine and try those “persons” who have violated their civil oath to protect this country and the constitution, and those that have caused great harm.   

    Citizens United is behind this, and I think this shows perfectly where a lot of those corporate dollars have gone….Mr. McConnell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diona.bidwell Diona Bidwell

    Yes, indeedy!! They are setting things up so that we CAN NOT remove them from their Extremely well paid positions, now. Just watch..wait…that will be sliding into the works soon..how there is no recourse or recall for Senators even if they commit felonies in the commission of their office.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diona.bidwell Diona Bidwell

    Yes, I have and gotten called a few not-nice names for mentioning it. They don’t even try to cover it up any more, not even hide it. They just do the things that best benefit themselves, laugh at the people in this country and scorn them, and move on to the next scheme. Look at the people they have duped into believing they might receive a crumb or two. I feel bad for those folks, they are basically good people, and all they want is a tiny bit for themselves.  As If.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diona.bidwell Diona Bidwell

    Grouped by Home StateAlabama:Sessions (R-AL), NayShelby (R-AL), NayAlaska:Begich (D-AK), YeaMurkowski (R-AK), Not VotingArizona:Kyl (R-AZ), NayMcCain (R-AZ), NayArkansas:Boozman (R-AR), NayPryor (D-AR), YeaCalifornia:Boxer (D-CA), YeaFeinstein (D-CA), YeaColorado:Bennet (D-CO), YeaUdall (D-CO), YeaConnecticut:Blumenthal (D-CT), YeaLieberman (ID-CT), YeaDelaware:Carper (D-DE), YeaCoons (D-DE), YeaFlorida:Nelson (D-FL), YeaRubio (R-FL), NayGeorgia:Chambliss (R-GA), NayIsakson (R-GA), NayHawaii:Akaka (D-HI), YeaInouye (D-HI), YeaIdaho:Crapo (R-ID), NayRisch (R-ID), NayIllinois:Durbin (D-IL), YeaKirk (R-IL), Not VotingIndiana:Coats (R-IN), NayLugar (R-IN), NayIowa:Grassley (R-IA), NayHarkin (D-IA), YeaKansas:Moran (R-KS), NayRoberts (R-KS), NayKentucky:McConnell (R-KY), NayPaul (R-KY), NayLouisiana:Landrieu (D-LA), Not VotingVitter (R-LA), NayMaine:Collins (R-ME), NaySnowe (R-ME), NayMaryland:Cardin (D-MD), YeaMikulski (D-MD), YeaMassachusetts:Brown (R-MA), NayKerry (D-MA), YeaMichigan:Levin (D-MI), YeaStabenow (D-MI), YeaMinnesota:Franken (D-MN), YeaKlobuchar (D-MN), YeaMississippi:Cochran (R-MS), NayWicker (R-MS), Not VotingMissouri:Blunt (R-MO), NayMcCaskill (D-MO), YeaMontana:Baucus (D-MT), YeaTester (D-MT), YeaNebraska:Johanns (R-NE), NayNelson (D-NE), YeaNevada:Heller (R-NV), Not VotingReid (D-NV), NayNew Hampshire:Ayotte (R-NH), NayShaheen (D-NH), YeaNew Jersey:Lautenberg (D-NJ), YeaMenendez (D-NJ), YeaNew Mexico:Bingaman (D-NM), YeaUdall (D-NM), YeaNew York:Gillibrand (D-NY), YeaSchumer (D-NY), YeaNorth Carolina:Burr (R-NC), NayHagan (D-NC), YeaNorth Dakota:Conrad (D-ND), YeaHoeven (R-ND), NayOhio:Brown (D-OH), YeaPortman (R-OH), NayOklahoma:Coburn (R-OK), NayInhofe (R-OK), NayOregon:Merkley (D-OR), YeaWyden (D-OR), YeaPennsylvania:Casey (D-PA), YeaToomey (R-PA), NayRhode Island:Reed (D-RI), YeaWhitehouse (D-RI), YeaSouth Carolina:DeMint (R-SC), NayGraham (R-SC), NaySouth Dakota:Johnson (D-SD), YeaThune (R-SD), NayTennessee:Alexander (R-TN), NayCorker (R-TN), NayTexas:Cornyn (R-TX), NayHutchison (R-TX), NayUtah:Hatch (R-UT), NayLee (R-UT), NayVermont:Leahy (D-VT), YeaSanders (I-VT), YeaVirginia:Warner (D-VA), YeaWebb (D-VA), YeaWashington:Cantwell (D-WA), YeaMurray (D-WA), YeaWest Virginia:Manchin (D-WV), YeaRockefeller (D-WV), YeaWisconsin:Johnson (R-WI), NayKohl (D-WI), YeaWyoming:Barrasso (R-WY), NayEnzi (R-WY), Nay

  • http://www.facebook.com/diona.bidwell Diona Bidwell

    That’s really messy and so hard to read, my apologies. Go out to the link if you need a better look see and find your people and fire off phone calls, emails, Tweets, FB posts, whatever! Lets drive them crazy with the dissatisfaction missives! Let’s get them back!

  • http://twitter.com/Planet_Scott scott lathrop

    “As expected, Republicans unanimously opposed the bill.”

    This is why I find it difficult to believe anything the Republicans say as it all seems to be carefully orchestrated to only benefit them, and not the people there were elected to represent.

    The bigger the secret, the mores suspicious I become.

  • http://twitter.com/SandyMSantiago Sandy M. Santiago

    1st amendment rights are protected first & foremost to protect political
    speech, why? In case you get a government as we have now with Obama who attacks
    political enemies, demonizes those that don’t agree with him & will use
    agencies & the attorney general’s office to police & attack private
    citizens. If I get together with my friends and as a group make it our business
    to inform the public of the votes that our representatives in congress are
    making on our behave that we don’t agree with the last thing I want is Obama
    calling us “politickers” for taking money to spread the word. The
    disclose Act was nothing more than a way for the Obama’s of the country to
    limit our speech, good riddance!

  • http://twitter.com/Planet_Scott scott lathrop

    You’re serious?

  • Ae Rein

     Seriously??? The Citizens United ruling by the supreme court decided Corporations should be considered the same way as individual citizens. Allowing UNLIMITED monies into the discussion & discourse, giving people with almost unlimited resources to remain anonymous IS a DIRECT assault on our INDIVIDUAL right to free speech. The rich have a gigantic advantage in having their opinions and agenda televised and published. Because most people DON”T have the resources to make $100,000 and many cases much MUCH more money donations, our opinions can never get the same level of attention. “Freedom of speech” is being purchased by those with great wealth and claiming the “Disclose Act”  limits individual right to Freedom of speech, is far and away  blatantly false, misinformation or even worse a GREAT BIG LIE. Facts are facts. Anonymous Massive amounts of contributions to deceptively named groups claiming to save us from governmental abuses, is not now nor will it EVER be real Freedom of Speech!

  • KentState1970

    Did you attend the School of the Americas?? With a last name like yours it’s quite possible!! 

  • AZM

    And you care if Obama calls you “politickers”?!?! I don’t think you do, so what’s all this fuss about. Even if “Obama’s of the country”, as you call them, call you “politickers”, so what? They are allowed, aren’t they? It’s all about 1st amendment that you mention so much. Lady, this is about special interest groups and protecting middle class. 

  • mary pena

     No, Scott,  she’s not serious…uninformed or brainwashed by the right but not serious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sailor4165 David Lewis

    Corruption leads the USA down the drain of final destruction for selfish political gain. Money alone elects our political leaders NOT votes. Democracy as defined in the Constitution is DOA, get used to it, we are ALL victims of criminal behavior of the government. Kiss your freedom good-by.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sailor4165 David Lewis

    Dreamer, you think Obama is any different then any other President in the past 20 years. If you still believe in right and left, GOP & DNCC, right and wrong, you are blind. All we have is different shades of gray CORRUPTION.

  • mbrecker

    This really does prove many things.

    The rich and powerful will do anything they have to to destroy Obama. All that matters is maintaining their money and power. Despite this, how many will actually vote Republican
    this fall?

  • Sam

    Sure there is corruption on both sides, but take a look at the Senate vote on this bill.  51 Democrats voted for disclosure and every Republican voted against it. If it wasn’t for the 60 vote rule the Democrats would have enacted disclosure, they had a majority vote. That should make it clear which party stands for government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich and which party stands for the rest of us.  Unless you are a member of the one percent you should help elect more democrats to congress and the senate so we can make some positive change.  The citizens United decision is ruining our democracy.

  • mareli

    There are not enough rich and powerful to elect Romney, just too many stupid people.

  • mareli

    But eventual destruction and disappearance of dishonest greedy politicians and their corporate backers are going to cause too much damage if they are not removed NOW.  In fact, it may already be too late to save the planet and those who live on it.  I cannot understand why the greedy destructive people don’t realize that they are killing THEMSELVES also.

  • Cashme327

    So Harry Reid voted nay when most Democrats voted yea?  Some leader HE is.   The Democrats should vote him out as majority leader.

  • Norma de la Cerna

    It is wrong to operate in secrecy in order to buy our elections.   Those who are driven to own our country and our states are using their power and money to devastate the people and our inherited human rights.  Wake up America.  Stand up America.  We are obligated to do the right thing.  Let us arm ourselves with knowledge of how and where we are losing our right to choose.  Then–do the right thing. 

  • FultonIn

    You are misinformed.  It was McConnell and his ilk that killed this bill that would have shed some light on donors….there is nothing wrong with this.  America is now bought and paid for by????  We won’t know now.

  • FultonIn

    Romney has some BIG secrets!

  • Anonymous

    With a rating of 8% I think it shows we have the WORST Congress money can buy!

  • Ruthless58

    We are in danger of destroying our  democracy if the secrects continue

  • Hdcowgrl

    You are so so so misinformed, ma’am.  We need disclosure.  We need to know who is buying the government and our democracy. 

  • Hdcowgrl

    They will, hopefully, someday, have their day of reckoning.  But it won’t come soon enough unless WE ALL STAND TOGETHER and say enough is enough!

  • Keibbsn

    once again the money wins and people put them in office was not heard by them because we are not the money that keeps them clothed and housed. 

  • DOinMO

    Troll! UI don’t see this at all!  Try watching The Daily Show instead of FAUX News!

  • Anonymous

    does anyone really know which citizens of the lovely state of Kentucky bought Mitch’s seat? does anyone know if they hunt turtles in KY? methinks they missed one very old, sanrky, mean one–should get one the GOP rednecks to take him out–even if it is just for the honor of living in the USA

  • Anonymous

    he is as useful to America as Mittens, Palin, McCain..and as for the Senate Dems who phuqued up..vote their butts out as well…they live in the beltway vacuum