Originally published: June 23, 2010
Last updated: June 23, 2010 - 8:37pm
The House Rules Committee, which determines how a bill is voted on, is preparing to take up the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act.
Its backers, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.), say the bill would repair some of what they see as the damage done to the campaign finance system by the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case. That was the decision that lifted the ban on using corporate and union treasury funds to directly fund ads promoting or opposing candidates (electioneering communications) in the run-up to elections. Among many other things, the DISCLOSE Act would require a number of financial disclosures of donor contributions, ban direct funding by corporations with government contracts worth more than $10 million; and expand the "electioneering communications" period from 60 to 120 days before an election.
The ACLU has come out against the bill. Among its concerns are that the disclosure obligations on the "functional equivalent" of electioneering communications could discourage issue advocacy and that the disclosure obligations for TV and radio ads--funders would have to appear on-air to take responsibility for the ad, as candidates do now. It also has issues with the restrictions on contractors and foreign ownership.
The bill, which has the backing of the Administration, could get a House vote as early as June 24.
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