Gavel Grab

Without Disclosure Bill, 'Mud Fight' Ahead?

Senate Republicans drew condemnation in two newspaper editorials for blocking a bill to require disclosure by corporations and labor unions of their political spending (see Gavel Grab).

“Senate Republicans made sure this fall’s elections will be drenched in corporate money,” said a San Francisco Chronicle editorial. “Get ready for a high-spending mud fight this fall as business groups exploit the [Supreme Court’s Citizens United] ruling and take advantage of low polling numbers for Democrats.”

A New York Times editorial was headlined, “Keeping Politics in the Shadows.” Foes of the measure, the editorial said, “want the right to poison the political atmosphere without being held accountable for their speech.”

The editorial added that supporters of the measure, called The DISCLOSE Act, didn’t help their cause by adding several unnecessary provisions that attracted Republican opposition.

In The Hill newspaper’s Congress Blog, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy of the Brennan Center for Justice posed a question summarized by the post’s headline: “Why can 41 senators crush popular will to temper money in politics?” The Brennan Center is a partner of Justice at Stake.

In many states, too, lawmakers have moved to respond to the landmark Citizens United ruling, which lifted major restraints on corporate and labor union spending to elect or defeat political candidates.

This week it was reported by the Casper Star-Tribune that four Wyoming legislators have asked a local court to conform state election laws to Citizens United and repeal a ban on corporate campaign spending.

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