cross-posted at the Center for Competitive Politics
Word began to trickle out late last night that Senator Chuck Schumer had introduced a new version of the DISCLOSE Act , S. 3628, and was angling to get it on the floor for a vote on Friday, skipping having the bill considered in committee.
This morning we received a copy of the bill, and have just begun to look at it. At 116 pages, it’s unlikely that the bill is much improved.
What is quite likely is that the bill contains all sort of new special deals cut behind closed doors with interest groups, similar to the Shotgun Sellout struck with the NRA by the bill’s House sponsors. What is certain is that by skipping the committee process and trying jam through the DISCLOSE Act in only a few days, it will be almost impossible to find all the secret deals and hidden exemptions for favored political speakers.
Which is of course typical of the process followed so far for a bill allegedly about transparency and disclosure – write the bill in secret, locking Republicans out of the process while inviting lobbyists for privileged causes to help write the bill, cut special deals behind closed doors with interest groups in exchange for their promise not to oppose the bill, and introduce massive language changes at the last minute in order to avoid careful scrutiny of the bill.
And then the self-styled campaign finance “reform” community wonders why so many Americans don’t trust them and don’t believe that “reform” has anything to do with better government or fighting corruption. As I’ve said often of late, it’s like "reformers" just don’t have any sense of irony.
Maine's two Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, appear to be the key to whether or not the DISCLOSE Act will pass. Both have so far indicated that they do not support the speech-stifling legislation, but if you're a resident of the Pine Tree State it might not be a bad idea to contact your Senators and let them know your thoughts on the matter.