Make no mistake about it, Republican lawmakers are so set on opposing the Obama administration on any policy initiative that they are wiling to take down our democracy in its process. Need proof? Try today’s vote on the DISCLOSE Act. The DISCLOSE Act was a modest proposal to try and counteract the amount of influence corporate money has in elections in the wake of the Citizens United v. F.E.C. The Act would have required corporations and interest groups to identify themselves when they sponsor political ads and, in the case of smaller organizations, to reveal their donors.
But the bill was defeated 57-41without a single Republican lawmaker supporting the bill even after the Democrats made Republican-requested concessions that would guarantee that unions and corporations were treated the same under the proposal.
Let’s be clear. The bill didn’t put any limits on corporate political spending–a measure that would have likely come in conflict with the Supreme Court’s understanding of the extent of First Amendment political speech rights. All that it did was force publication of who was putting money into politics, and given the dustup over Target’s recent support of a far-right gubenatorial candidate in its home state of Minnesota, people are hungry for just this kind of transparency.
But the Democrats could not break another GOP filibuster, and those in the GOP who claim to call themselves moderates need to take a hard look at themselves after this vote. Scott Brown campaigned on more transparency in government. Both Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe voted against this measure but, in 2001, voted for the far-more restrictive McCain Feingold campaign finance bill. And let’s just forget about John McCain all together.
By not allowing the measure to pass, the GOP voted against granting the public information on basic campaign expenditures by outside groups. The bill would have required Senate candidates to electronically file their campaign contribution reports and would have supported the basic premise that transparency enables democracy.
Wonder why the GOP wants to prevent the public from knowing just who gives them money and how much?
photo courtesy of borman818 via Flickr