Originally published: July 22, 2010
Last updated: July 22, 2010 - 7:25pm
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has filed a new version of a campaign-finance bill aimed at winning the support of Maine's key GOP centrist Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.
The new version strips out several provisions included in the House-passed bill that conservative groups, as well as Collins, had said provides an unfair advantage to unions over corporations and other groups. Democrats are courting Snowe and Collins and could bring the bill to the floor for a vote as early as next week.
The bill specifically jettisons a provision dealing with requirements that all businesses, unions and groups must disclose transfers to or from or between their affiliates of $10,000 or more, according to a Senate aide familiar with the changes. In order to appease labor unions, the House added language exempting any groups from reporting such transfers if the source of the funds comes from member dues, not large donations from corporations or individuals.
Another change would affect all groups. In the House-passed version, businesses and groups would be forced to disclose transfers of $50,000 or more between organizations and other businesses only if the money could be traced back to an individual large donor. "That's a huge loophole that escaped notice [in the House-passed version]," the Senate aide said. "That loophole was closed to improve the integrity of the bill."
In addition, Sen Schumer got rid of an amendment that would have barred any oil and gas companies that drill in the Outer Continental Shelf from funding political advertisements. It was sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and was added to the House bill when it was considered on the floor.
He modified another provision requiring businesses and groups to state their geographic locations in political advertisement disclaimers. The new bill would only require those locations to be highlighted in TV and not radio ads because television ads could do so visually while radio ads would have to voice the lengthy disclaimer. He also added language from Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI.) that requires senators to file their quarterly Federal Election Commission reports electronically.
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