‘Dis­close Act’ fails to ad­vance in Se­nate

The bill would re­quire greater trans­parency on po­lit­i­cal do­na­tions by cor­po­ra­tions.

Los Angeles Times - - 9• 24•10 - Michael A. Me­moli re­port­ing from washington michael.me­moli@latimes.com

Faced with united Repub­li­can op­po­si­tion, the Se­nate again failed to ad­vance a pro­posal Thurs­day that would have re­quired cor­po­ra­tions to more fully dis­close po­lit­i­cal do­na­tions.

The vote against in­vok­ing clo­ture was the sec­ond failed at­tempt by the Se­nate to take up the so-called Dis­close Act, writ­ten in re­sponse to the Supreme Court rul­ing that al­lowed unions and cor­po­ra­tions to spend un­lim­ited funds on po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties. The House passed a sim­i­lar bill in June.

In the Se­nate, the fi­nal vote was 59 to 39, short of the 60 votes re­quired. All Democrats voted to sup­port the bill; two Repub­li­cans did not vote.

The leg­is­la­tion would re­quire dis­clo­sure by donors sup­port­ing cam­paign ad­ver­tis­ing, and re­quire spon­sors to per­son­ally ap­prove TV ads, as can­di­dates are re­quired to do.

Repub­li­cans crit­i­cized the mea­sure, say­ing Democrats were try­ing to “rig the sys­tem” to their ad­van­tage.

Democrats ar­gue the leg­is­la­tion would pro­vide needed trans­parency. Pres­i­dent Obama re­peat­edly has crit­i­cized the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion to strike down pro­hi­bi­tions on such spend­ing in the case Cit­i­zens United vs. the Fed­eral Elec­tions Com­mis­sion.

In a state­ment, Obama called the Se­nate out­come “a vic­tory for spe­cial in­ter­ests and U.S. cor­po­ra­tions — in­clud­ing for­eign-con­trolled ones — who are now al­lowed to spend un­lim­ited money to fill our air­waves, mail­boxes and phone lines right up un­til elec­tion day.”

In­de­pen­dent spend­ing has dra­mat­i­cally in­creased on the 2010 midterm cam­paign, fa­vor­ing the GOP.

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