Democrats looking to fast track campaign finance measure


In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling, Democrats in Congress are looking for legislative throttles that will help control the flow of corporate and union cash into the 2010 midterm elections.

The sticking point for any legislation of any kind is the Senate, where united Republicans can stop debate when they so desire. According to The Hill, the Senate sponsor of the bill – Chuck Schumer (D-NY) – says he was unable to get a Republican to co-sponsor, but that there are many who have told him that they are “favorably disposed” to support it. The Hill says at least two Republicans in the House, Mike Castle (R-DE) and Walter Jones (R-NC), have indicated support.

It would provide for stand-by-your-ad statements from executives on companies running them, limit advertising by companies doing business with the federal government and would also limit companies with a certain percentage of foreign ownership.

President Barack Obama signaled strong support for the measure, issuing the following statement: “I welcome the introduction of this strong bi-partisan legislation to control the flood of special interest money into America’s elections. Powerful special interests and their lobbyists should not be able to drown out the voices of the American people. Yet they work ceaselessly toward that goal: they claim the protection of the Constitution in extending this power, and they exploit every loophole in the law to escape limits on their activities. The legislation introduced today would establish the toughest-ever disclosure requirements for election-related spending by big oil corporations, Wall Street and other special interests, so the American people can follow the money and see clearly which special interests are funding political campaign activity and trying to buy representation in our government. I have long believed that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and this legislation will shine an unprecedented light on corporate spending in political campaigns. This bill will also prohibit foreign entities from manipulating the outcomes of American elections and help close other special interest loopholes. I hope that Congress will give this legislation the swift consideration it deserves, which is especially urgent now in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Passing the legislation is a critical step in restoring our government to its rightful owners: the American people.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Democrats may get this together by mid-summer. The question is what Senate Republicans will do about it. Will they go into their now almost-standard filibuster mode? If so, will Democrats be able to move them into floor debate as they did with Wall Street reform? Will it make any real difference anyway? Stay tuned.