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Yet again, it all turns on Olympia Snowe

UPDATE, 11:34 a.m.: Senator Ben Nelson's spokesman, Jake Thompson, confirms that Nelson will vote Yes. "He will vote for cloture on the Disclose Act," Thompson emails. "It's all about transparency."

That removes one more element of suspense. And a quick clarification on what I wrote below: Senator Lieberman is in fact not in the Senate today, so it can't get the 60 votes it needs today. But here's where it gets interesting.

Snowe, who is up for reelection in two years and is expected to face blowback if she votes No, can in fact vote Yes today. Because of Lieberman's absence, she would not be ensuring that it would pass, sparing her the wrath of Mitch McConnell, who is trying to keep the GOP caucus united against it.

But: A senior Dem Senate aide tells me that if Snowe does this, the measure could be brought up for a vote again when Lieberman is present, putting pressure on her to maintain her Yes vote. So again, as long as the odds are, this could still end up passing.

ORIGINAL POST:

No illusions: The odds remain tremendously against it. But it's not out of the question that the DISCLOSE act may pass the Senate today.

Here's the state of play, as we speak. While some published reports have declared that Senator Olympia Snowe is going to vote No on the DISCLOSE act, putting 60 out of reach, she has in fact not definitively said this.

That means there's still a path to 60 votes -- and as unlikely as it seems, if Dems were to pass this, it would be a tremendous victory, because Senator Mitch McConnell has made defeating it effort a top priority.

Again, it all turns on Senator Snowe.

To get to 60, Dems need all 59 Dems and independents, plus one Republican. Senator Ben Nelson has not said which way he'll vote, and his spokesman is not returning emails this morning. But for all the dramatics, he's expected to vote Yes.

That means one Republican can decide whether the measure passes or fails. Senators Susan Collins and Scott Brown have already ruled out a Yes vote. And today's New York Times reports that Snowe is a No, too. But other reports put her down as noncommittal, and in fact she has not announced a final .

Snowe will likely offer her final declaration early this afternoon, at which point we'll know for certain what will happen.

President Obama's entry into the debate yesterday ensures that the DISCLOSE act will be a major campaign issue this fall no matter what happens today. If it fails, Dems will accuse Republicans of voting against ordinary people and siding with major corporations who want to influence our elections without accountability. But let's face it, this would be a far more powerful weapon if Dems succeed in passing it.

Again: The odds are tremendously against it passing. But it's still too early to rule this possiblity out completely.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 27, 2010; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Supreme Court  
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Next: More evidence Palin should stay inside her bubble

Comments

The Dems should use video tape of every "no" vote in campaigning this fall.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 27, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Um, shouldn't a journalist always explain his jargon so that readers know what the heck he's even writing about?

I consider myself reasonably informed; I was aware there was a bill pending to counter the Citizens United decision. But not having read my Times yet today, and not knowing that bill was nicknamed the "Disclose Act", I had absolutely no idea what this post was about until I Googled "Disclose Act".

My bad for being merely a reader, and not a complete inside-the-beltway power tool.

Posted by: Itzajob | July 27, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Thought I saw something earlier that said that Lieberman will miss today's DISCLOSE vote (Greg, can you confirm?) So even *if* Snowe votes for it (which I personally see as unlikely), they still won't get to 60 with Lieberman missing.

Posted by: OKeefePup | July 27, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes, let's have Mr Obama parading around the country explaining to Americans why he feels the need to abridge our first amendment rights.

Yes, after his egregious insult during the state of the union address, this should do wonders for his image amongst those who are now experiencing voter's remorse.And of course Americans are, rightly, becoming increasingly leering of Mr Obama's words. Our trust in him has eroded rapidly. So sure, let him explain to the nation why chuck Schumer's incumbency needs protection.

Let him explain to the American people how he believes us to be so stupid that a massive advertising campaign will dissuade us from the truth.

yeah, that'll sell well in the hotly contested districts. Sho nuff

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Via HuffPo:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/27/lieberman-to-miss-disclos_n_660581.html

"Senate Democrats will be one vote down when they consider sweeping campaign finance disclosure legislation this afternoon as Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) has told party leadership he will miss the vote to attend a friend's funeral."

Looks like they'll need two Republicans, at least.

It's surprising to me that one of the retiring members wouldn't be seen as a possible "yes" vote.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 27, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

@skipsailing28: Unless you are a corporation, no one is abridging your rights to free speech even though you talk a lot without saying anything (most of the time.)

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

skippy, the vast majority of voters were opposed to the ruling in Citizens United, and now support the DISCLOSE act. You are tilting at windmills. (And not very effectively, either.)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 27, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

All, see the update I added

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 27, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@ss28:Our trust in him has eroded rapidly.

WHAT??? Your trust in Obama??? ROTFLMAO When did you ever express any trust in the Obama administration or its actions?

Let him explain to the American people how he believes us to be so stupid that a massive advertising campaign will dissuade us from the truth.

If money for political ads doesn't work, why would corporations (through "issue advocacy ads", although the citizens united case makes those obsolete), PACs and plutocrats spend so much money funding them? Do you think they don't understand what return on investment means? Besides most of the attack ads are designed primarily to tear down candidates and secondarily to drive down voter participation in general, which gives more clout to "base" voters. This is the only place where the # of republicans is roughly equal to the # of dems.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Skippy...skippy...skippy...your johnny one note...you desire to stick up for EVERY position on the right sometimes leaves you looking like a moron. Consider this mind numblingly inaccurate statement.

"Let him explain to the American people how he believes us to be so stupid that a massive advertising campaign will dissuade us from the truth."

No Skippy...perhaps you can explain to us how Rick Scott a man WHO HAS NEVER HELD ELECTIVE OFFICE...KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT FLORIDA GOVERNMENT..is on his way to ousting Bill McCollum for the R nomination SIMPLY BECAUSE HE HAS SPENT OVER 25 MILLION DOLLARS OF HIS OWN MONEY!!!

Rick Scott is a crook. He is EXACTLY the example that refutes your position....

"Scott was ousted by Columbia/HCA's board of directors in 1997 in the midst of the nation's biggest health care fraud scandal. The company ultimately settled the Medicaid and Medicare fraud allegations and paid out a total of $1.7 billion dollars in fines and civil claims."
Wikipedia

This scumbag actually made billions off of the suffering of his fellow Americans. He CHEATED the U.S. Gov't...(ALL OF US WHO PAY TAXES) so severely that his company was fined a RECORD 1.7 BILLION!!!!

Can it get any worse? Yet this crook has morons like skippy ready to elect him as Governor of Florida. The stupidity on the right has truly reach Forrest Gump levels!

Stupid is as stupid does. Vote Republican Forrest!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 27, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

It's mind boggling how Republicans have their constituents echoing their talking points on behalf of their corporate sponsors who's only purpose is to maintain influence in the shaping of laws to allow them to become wealthier at the expense of the working class.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 27, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

@ruk7: That is an insult to Forrest Gump! I don't recall that character ruining a national economy...

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

It would be helpful if Greg would write a bit about the actual content of the Disclose Act.

"Republicans like Sens. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Scott Brown and others who are generally sympathetic to campaign finance regulation have balked at the DISCLOSE Act because it's a nakedly partisan attempt to rewrite campaign finance law right before the midterm elections."

http://www.campaignfreedom.org/blog/detail/fact-checking-final-disclose-push

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

Unless the bill is likely to change between the votes, there's no way Snowe will vote for it now, then against it later.

For it before she was against it?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 27, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

OT but, does anyone know much about this company Newt Gingrich is running?

http://www.healthtransformation.net/

Just scanning the site it appears to be dedicated to slamming Obama's health care initiative although prior to the debate it was giving praise to his choosing of Daschle.

The site also went as far as praising part of the stimulus package.

"Getting the latest technology and breakthroughs into the hands of doctors, providers and patients is essential to transforming health. ...

The proposed stimulus package generally addresses these issues in a positive way. Innovative organizations across the country are already driving and delivering evidence-based medicine that delivers better, safer care for patients. "

http://www.healthtransformation.net/cs/news/news_detail?pressrelease.id=2388

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 27, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3 : Any issues with bill timing are a direct result of relentless republican obstruction, both cloture votes and denying unanimous consent. I am sure that dems would have moved this earlier if health care reform didn't take over a year, judicial and administration appointments, weren't routinely blocked only to be confirmed by voice votes, etc. This is about the most hollow claim you have made this week.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"A Senate that hasn't passed a budget and is not even having hearings on such is going to use time today to debate a measure for no seeming purpose but to give the majority party an issue to demogogue this fall."

"This bill would prohibit the political spending of numerous business groups—including companies with government contracts or international investment—while leaving unions untouched. This bill would ban the political spending of many companies—including more than half of the top 50 U.S. corporations—while leaving labor unions, a traditional ally of Democrats—free to spend on politics."

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@srw3

"This is about the most hollow claim you [sbj] have made this week."

Don't worry...the week's just started.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Sec. 214. ENHANCE DISCLAIMERS TO IDENTIFY SPONSORS OF ADS
• Require Leaders of Corporations, Unions, and Organizations to Identify that
they are Behind Political Ads. If any covered organization (corporation, union,
section 501(c)(4),(5), or (6) organization, or section 527 organization) makes
disbursements for an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, the
CEO or highest ranking official of that organization will be required to appear on
camera to say that he or she “approves this message,” just like candidates have to do
now.
• In order to prevent “Shadow Groups”, Require Top Donors To Appear in
Political Ads They Funded. In order to prevent individuals and entities from
funneling money through shell groups in order to mask their activities, the legislation
will include the following requirements:
o The top funder of the advertisement must also record a stand-by-your-ad
disclaimer.
o The top five donors of non-restricted funds to an organization that purchases
campaign-related TV advertising will be listed on the screen at the end of the
advertisement. This has been used very successfully in Washington State and
is the model for this section in the legislation.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 27, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"It would be helpful if Greg would write a bit about the actual content of the Disclose Act."

Is google broken?

Imsinca put an excellent summary of it on the last thread.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 27, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: quotes with no attribution or links are meaningless. And of course you didn't address the substance of my comment, that relentless republican obstruction and the demand for a 60 vote majority for every major bill introduced has forced many issues to be crammed in at the end of the session. There is not even time to consider a comprehensive energy bill, even though energy policy is a huge issue for now and the future. Why can't a comprehensive energy bill be debated and voted on? Relentless republican obstructionism.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

What nonsense. This bill is simply unnecessary. It is an abridgement of our first amendment rights.

One "bright light" scolded me by saying that unless I was a corporation, my freedoms remain. I see, so freedom for some Americans, but not those that the liberals don't like? that's an argument in favor of this monstrosity?

Oh and liberal arrogance is once again on display. Here ya go:
"No Skippy...perhaps you can explain to us how Rick Scott a man WHO HAS NEVER HELD ELECTIVE OFFICE...KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT FLORIDA GOVERNMENT..is on his way to ousting Bill McCollum for the R nomination SIMPLY BECAUSE HE HAS SPENT OVER 25 MILLION DOLLARS OF HIS OWN MONEY!!!"

soooo, the liberals know better than the voters, right? The citizens of Florida can't decide for themselves because Chuck Schumer is smarter than them?

If you need a perfect example of how a well tuned campaign can cajole votes out of Americans look no further than Obama. He was completely unprepared for the job he won. Where was your outrage then son? This is the worst case of voter's remorse on record. This stuff happens.

We're supposed to be a government BY the people. That means free and unfettered elections, including the right to free political speech.

There is simply no way that this bill is NOT a reduction of our rights. If MR Scott wants to spend his money on this election, what is that to you? I thought we were free!

Oh, and rukidding's personal bigotry is now on display. Where, oh where, did I say that I supported Mr Scott pallie? Once again nasty liberal prejudice rears its ugly head.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

skippy really believes corporations are people.

lm, it's not fair to use actual facts in debates with rightwingers; they simply are not in the habit of letting actual facts determine their positions.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 27, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

skippy, the vast majority of voters (left, right and center) are for the DISCLOSE act. Get over it. Your personal whininess is now on display. :oP

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 27, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

If the national mood were happier, maybe more people would care about campaign finance issues, but that is waaaay down the list today.
So congress works on anything but policies that might actually encourage economic growth. Business as usual.

Posted by: slatt321 | July 27, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@ss28: full of words signifying nothing.

"I see, so freedom for some Americans, but not those that the liberals don't like?...We're supposed to be a government BY the people. That means free and unfettered elections, including the right to free political speech."

Operative word PEOPLE! not corporate personhood (talk about oxymoron)

Corporations are not Americans or persons, so no person's or American's rights are being abridged. If you have evidence that the bill does restrict individual people's (not corporate personhood) rights, let me know.

I don't think that Rich Scott is impacted by this bill, but feel free to correct me on this.

"This is the worst case of voter's remorse on record. "

Actually Obama and Reagan are at about the same popularity ranking at this time in their first terms, so unless you think that Reagan is tied for the "worst case of voter remorse" your comment is again full of words, some not very witty personal comments, but ultimately signifying nothing.

Oh, and you never answered the question, "Why would political parties, plutocrats, and PACS spend hundreds of millions of dollars on political advertising if they didn't believe that they were effective? Is it a welfare program for paid media corporations?"

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing Nelson is voting Yes because he has convinced his corporate sponsors there's no chance it will pass either way.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 27, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"We have noted as well the special carve outs for some of the nation's most powerful interest groups (the NRA and the Sierra Club, and also the AARP...), the blatantly partisan intent of the bill's sponsors, the rush of the final bill through the Senate without Committee hearings, and the seedy drafting of the bill by "public interest" lobbyists and Democrats with no bipartisan input. All of these would be valid reasons for a member to vote against the bill."

"DISCLOSE would ban-not require disclosure of, ban-independent political spending by companies with sizable federal contacts, including over half of the top 50 U.S. companies... Ford Motor Co. would be prohibited from spending money advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates, but the United Auto Workers union could spend freely.... It would leave out unions that represent workers at government contractors...

"DISCLOSE would also ban the independent expenditures and electioneering communications of U.S. companies with more than 20 percent international investment. Verizon Wireless would be prohibited from spending, but the Communications Workers of America would be free to spend unlimited sums... It targets only for-profit corporations, exempting unions with substantial foreign involvement."

http://www.campaignfreedom.org

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

hey greg,
i am amazed at how positive you can be about these news day in day out. i too, hope it will pass today, but in reality we are just probably setting ourselves up to have this conversation again at some later date.
gooooo government!

Posted by: eriklontok | July 27, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I see. If a group of Americans organize themselves as a labor union, then the Liberals will "bless" their efforts with favorable laws.

but if a group of citizens organize themselves as a corporation, then the liberals will hurl insults at them and attempt to abridge the rights of the citizens so organized.

I get that. I see how it could make sense to a liberal.

In response to srw3's lament about attribution, let me observe that attribution around here is scant at best. I suspect that this is because links don't work on the comment threads.

that said, here's the source of the quotes provided so graciously by sbj3:
http://www.campaignfreedom.org/blog/detail/disclose-and-disclosure

Once again, as I said, this is an abridgement of our first amendment rights.

srw3, are you offering as a rationale for this law that the spending is effective and should therefore be stifled?

What the liberals can't seem to wrap their heads around is the concept of freedom. Free people are free to spend their money as they see fit. They are free to vote as they chose. At least so far today we are also free to engage in political speech. Indeed it was political speech that the founders sought to protect.
What, exactly is the state's compelling reason for snatching away our freedom? that people will be swayed by expensive media campaigns? YOu mean like the millions that unions spent to put Mr Obama in office? Like that?

and sue, do you imagine that there was a point in our history when the vast majority of people supported the internment of Americans of japanese ancestry? Does that make for good policy honey?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

good point srw3. Looking at gallup's data Reagan did stumble in the first term. It was the economy then. Gallup's write up is interesting.

If the economy rebounds, Obama will recover somewhat. If not, he's facing a real up hill climb.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

srw3 I stand corrected for maligning poor Forrest Gump.


And yes srw3 you are correct that the disclosure act would not effect Rick Scott.
However his personal wealth has triggered an arcane Florida law that has been fought with mixed success in other states. In Florida when a person reaches a figure approximately 22-24 million spent on a the Gubernatorial race the public financing law kicks in and gives their opponent a matching number of bucks for everything they spend over 224 million.

Rick Scott has reached that threshold and now Bill McCollum is getting matching dollars for everything Scott spends from here on out. Scott has sued and failed..at least at this point to get an injunction. Scott..like skippy maintains his free speech has been abridged...or course in this case that is absurd although in some states very conservative courts have sided with the wealthy candidate. Scott is still FREE TO EXERCISE HIS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT..he can advertise all he wants..mail as many fliers..give as many speeches...THERE IS NOTHING TO PREVENT SCOTT FROM EXERCISING HIS FREE SPEECH...the law does prevent him from completing making a joke out of the race by outspending his opponent 10-1.

The same is true of the disclosure act. Unless I'm mistaken..and from I read of lmsinca's post..this law does not PREVENT Corps or any other groups from exercising their freedom of speech...it DOES MANDATE THAT THEY SIMPLY IDENTIFY THEMSELVES.
Do we also have laws that provide for SECRET SPEECH? That is what the disingenuous skippy is advocating!

In skippy's world it's OK for Big Oil companies to masquerade behind organizations that call themselves any name in the book so that we end up with fraudelent situations where one could have BP advertising for their client of choice under the banner of Citizens United for A Clean Gulf. They can literally lie and present themselves as environmentalists at the same time they are supporting politicians who are for gutting regulation.
Lying and deception are fine in skippy's world though..he watches Fox news with all the other Gumps.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@ss28:but if a group of citizens organize themselves as a corporation, then the liberals will hurl insults at them and attempt to abridge the rights of the citizens so organized.

This is about the silliest thing I have seen written.

Those citizens are welcome to say whatever they want, but to use the enormous profits and size of megacorporations to influence the political process is the road to oligarchy (and we are pretty far down that road already).

"srw3, are you offering as a rationale for this law that the spending is effective and should therefore be stifled?"

It should be stifled for corporations, which are not people and not mentioned in the constitution having any role in elections.

I am saying that putting the enormous financial resources of corporations directly into campaigning drowns out all other voices. Look at the top 112 donors to campaigns....fully 80% are corporations or other advocacy groups and only 20% are unions, so please get off your high horse on the domination of political speech by unions. (If I had time, I would bet that corporations alone donate more than 70% of all money, but I can't check that now...)

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

"Indeed it was political speech that the founders sought to protect.
What, exactly is the state's compelling reason for snatching away our freedom?"

You keep saying we like you are some kind of corporation. No one is snatching anything from individuals. Rick Scott, Fiorina, Whitman, etc. can continue to bankroll their own attempt to convert their status as financial oligarchs into plutocrats. But Verizon can't bankroll them. Now the chairman of Verizon is welcome to donate and run for office so his/her speech is not being infringed. But corporations use shareholder money to fund campaigns and the shareholders (especially those that own corporations through mutual funds or are small shareholders (theoretically the owners) have no say in how that money is spent. They don't get to vote on how political donations are made. Allowing corporations to do this is stifling their speech or rather co-oping their speech (money).

PS: I can see why sbj3 didn't post the link to where he got those bogus quotes about the bill. The center for competitive politics is an astroturf front group for corporate America, with folks from the Cato institute, the sam adams alliance("The Sam Adams Alliance is a non-profit marketing and communications organization dedicated to free market activism.--from their website) on the board of directors. They are fully against the bill and their rhetoric shows it. I wouldn't trust what they write about the act farther than I can throw a large car.

Oh and I learned a new word,plutarchy, a combination of oligarchy and plutocracy.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

rukidding is kidding himself again. He certainly isn't kidding anyone else.

Since disclosure is already mandated, what advantage to the American citizens does this new law provide?

In addition, the ability of the government to COMPEL speech is very limited. What if the disclosure chucky demands takes 30 seconds of air time? How could that NOT be an abridgement of our speech rights?

and thanks again rukidding for proving that you are every bit the bigot I say you are. What proof can you offer that I watch Fox news?

The simple fact is I watch virtually no TV at all. But hey, thanks for proving again and again that personal insults are just part of the liberal discourse these days.

On another thread Ethan wants to know why conservatives seem so abrasive. I'll use your words as part of the response. You ok with that? Are you OK with being a bigot? It certainly seems that way.

Apparently in rukiddings world ad homs and name calling and bigotry are the fundamental building blocks of liberalism.

It seems to me that what the liberals fear most these days is the fact that their strategems are understood by the opposition and are now being employed by them. Ain't that just too bad. Gonna whine about it for the rest of your life pal?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@ss28: I am incorrect about the Disclose act. As RUK notes above, Corporations can spend as much as they want, they only have to identify the source of the money used to fund the ads, ie who they are.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Soo srw3, once again we see the propensity of liberals to punish successful people.

So failing organizations can spend freely on election campaigns but successful organizations must be limited? did I get that right? afer all using the "enormous" resources of corporations would just be wrong. Did I get that right?

And you've skirted the issue I raised. Americans organized as unions have the blessing of the liberals. Americans organized as corporations don't. You haven't really addressed that at all.

I don't think the quotes are bogus at all. Can you prove them wrong? If so, I'm interested. If not this is just your blithe dismissal of opinions with which a liberal disagrees.

and I never said that unions dominate anything. What I have said is that the law seeks to benefit groups who favor Democrats and punish groups who the Democrats want to shun. It is interesting that these evil corporations often donate heavily to Democrats. And what do they get for it?

and again, I don't see how the government has the right to stifle any speech. Why are you so anxious to throw away MY first amendment rights?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Dear Greg.

Why is your blog SOOOO MUCH BETTER than Ezra's? Is it because you actually do work, while he mainly just reads other people's blogs and then starts every post with the words, "The only thing I would add is..."?

Just curious.

TIA.
America

Posted by: paul65 | July 27, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@ss28: I didn't realize that watching the "fair and balanced" channel was an insult. I am sure that the millions of viewers don't see it that way. I guess you think you are way smarter than they are and it is an insult to be compared to them.

The right to free speech is not absolute. Requiring disclosure is not an unreasonable balance just like yelling fire in a crowded theater is not protected speech.

" How could that NOT be an abridgement of our speech rights?"

Its a level playing field if everyone has to add a disclosure statement.

"Apparently in rukiddings world ad homs and name calling and bigotry are the fundamental building blocks of liberalism." I guess you don't get out much. The discourse here is like a dissertation defense compared to any of the right wing blogs. And personally, I try not to demean posters, only their positions if they warrant it (and yours usually do.)

On the disclose act, there are some corporate restrictions:

"Government contractors would be barred from making campaign-related expenditures, defined to include independent expenditures and electioneering communications. This is an extension of an existing ban on contributions made by government contractors. Before Citizens United, corporations could not make such campaign-related expenditures. A $50,000 contract threshold will be included to exempt small government contractors"

Foreign corp:
"1. If a foreign national owns 20% or more of voting shares in the corporation, which is modeled after the control test in many states, including Delaware; 2. If a majority of the board of directors are foreign nationals; 3. If one or more foreign nationals have the power to direct, dictate, or control the decision-making of the U.S. subsidiary; or 4. If one or more foreign nationals have the power to direct, dictate, or control the activities with respect to federal, state or local elections"

coordination:
"This legislation would do the following:  For House and Senate races, the legislation would ban coordination
between a corporation or union and the candidate on ads referencing a
Congressional candidate in the time period starting 90 days before the
primary and continuing through the general election. For presidential campaigns, the legislation would ban coordination between a corporation
or union and the candidate on ads referencing a Presidential or Vice
Presidential candidate in the time period starting 120 days before the first
presidential primary and continuing through the general election." cont

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

disclosure:
The legislation ensures that the public will have full and timely disclosure of campaign-related expenditures (both electioneering communications and public independent expenditures) made by covered organizations (corporations, unions, section 501(c)(4), (5), and (6) organizations and section 527 organizations). The legislation imposes disclosure requirements that will mitigate the ability of spenders to mask their campaign-related activities through the use of intermediaries. It also requires disclosure of both disbursements made by the covered organization and also the source of funds used for those disbursements.

INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES The definition of an “independent expenditure” is expanded to include both express advocacy
and the functional equivalent of express advocacy, consistent with Supreme Court precedent.
Additionally, the section imposes a 24-hour reporting requirement for expenditures of $10,000 or
more made more than 20 days before an election, and expenditures of $1,000 or more made
within 20 days before an election.
Sec. 202. ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS This section expands the definition of “electioneering communications” to include all broadcast ads that refer to a candidate within the period beginning 90 days before a primary election, until the date of the general election. Any such “electioneering communication” is subject to the disclosure requirements in the bill. The section also expands the reporting requirements for electioneering communications to include a statement as to whether the communication is intended to support or oppose a candidate, and if so, which candidate

ENHANCE DISCLAIMERS TO IDENTIFY SPONSORS OF ADS • Require Leaders of Corporations, Unions, and Organizations to Identify that they are Behind Political Ads. If any covered organization (corporation, union, section 501(c)(4),(5), or (6) organization, or section 527 organization) spends on a
political ad, the CEO or highest ranking official of that organization will be required
to appear on camera to say that he or she “approves this message,” just like
candidates have to do now.
• In order to prevent “Shadow Groups”, Require Top Donors To Appear in Political Ads They Funded. In order to prevent individuals and entities from funneling money through shell groups in order to mask their activities, the legislation will include the following requirements: o The top funder of the advertisement must also record a stand-by-your-ad disclaimer. o The top five donors of non-restricted funds to an organization that purchases campaign-related TV advertising will be listed on the screen at the end of the advertisement. This has been used very successfully in Washington State and is the model for this section in the legislation

cont

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

REQUIRING REGISTRANTS TO REPORT INFORMATION ON INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES AND ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS In an effort to add to the transparency of lobbying activities, all registrants under the Lobbying
Disclosure Act must disclose the following information on their semiannual reports: the date and
amount of each independent expenditure or electioneering communication of $1,000 or more,
and the name of each candidate referred to or supported or opposed.

ENHANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR DISCLOSURE OF POLITICAL
EXPENDITURES TO SHAREHOLDERS AND MEMBERS OF COVERED
ORGANIZATIONS
All campaign-related expenditures made by a corporation, union, section 501(c)(4), (5), or (6)
organization, or section 527 organization must be disclosed on the organization’s website with a
clear link on the homepage within 24 hours of reporting such expenditures to the FEC.
Additionally, all campaign-related expenditures made by a corporation, union, section 501(c)(4),
(5), or (6) organization, or section 527 organization must be disclosed to shareholders and
members of the organization in any financial reports provided on a periodic and/or annual basis
to its shareholders or members.

PROVIDE LOWEST UNIT RATE FOR CANDIDATES AND PARTIES Current law allows for candidates to receive the lowest unit rate for airtime in order to get their message out over the airwaves. If a covered organization (which includes corporations, unions, section 501(c)(4), (5), and (6)
organizations, and section 527 organizations) spends $50,000 on airtime to run ads on broadcast,
cable, or satellite television that support or oppose a candidate, then that candidate or political
party committee is allowed to receive the lowest unit rate for that media market.
The broadcaster must also ensure that the candidate or political entity has “reasonable access” during non-preemptible airtime

Those are the govt descriptions of the major provisions of the bill as described at http://www.scribd.com/doc/30718963/Disclose-Act-Summary

I think that is a fair description of the bill.

"And you've skirted the issue I raised. Americans organized as unions have the blessing of the liberals. Americans organized as corporations don't. You haven't really addressed that at all."

I would note that unions are under most of the same restrictions as corporations are so ss28, please stop harping on unions.

If you want to discuss provisions of the bill, feel free to quote from these posts.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"I would note that unions are under most of the same restrictions as corporations are."

Sure...

"Some of the biggest campaign spending restrictions outlined in the summary would only affect corporations. For example, large federal contractors, recipients of government bailout funds who have not repaid the money and foreign-owned companies would be banned from election spending.

"There are no foreign-owned unions and unions are not government contractors," Hasen said. "The biggest limitations in this bill apply only to corporations because there are no parallels in the labor world."

"... There certainly is a parallel between for-profit government contractors and unions, at least in terms of receiving government funds. The site USASpending.gov is a wealth of information on where taxpayer dollars go. Going to the Spending: Grants page and simply typing "union" into the search box revealed the following (among a great many other grants):

INTERNATIONAL CHEMICAL WORKERS UNION $3,580,993

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS $48,000

INTERNATIONAL UNION UNITED AUTO WORKERS $756,304

Typing in the names of some specific unions produced the following:

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS $3,258,575

STEELWORKERS CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION $3,405,172 (this is an affiliate of United Steelworkers)

UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA CAREER CENTERS $718,229

"... There are also quite a few nonprofits that get government funding. A few more searches reveal:

PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF WISCONSIN INC $3,904,789

National Rifle Association of New Mexico $40,000

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY $54,099,589

DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE $104,480

"... It seems obvious that taxpayer dollars flow into unions and nonprofits, and grants of taxpayer dollars made directly to unions and nonprofits are a pretty clear parallel to contracts given to for-profit firms.

"Given this, what could possibly justify for-profit firms receiving government dollars being banned from exercising their First Amendment rights while allowing unions and advocacy groups in a similar situation to retain their rights?

"My guess? Partisan politics."

http://www.campaignfreedom.org/blog/detail/unions-getting-taxpayer-dollars-exempt-from-schumer-van-hollen-contractor-ban

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"I would note that unions are under most of the same restrictions as corporations are."

D'oh!

"The two main provisions of DISCLOSE that severely restrict the First Amendment rights of business corporations while ignoring unions with similar alleged conflicts are the ban on government contractors and on business corporations with even minimal foreign investment making expenditures.

"The contractor ban is the most sweeping and far reaching, and would effectively prohibit political speech by most large corporations in the country. The fact is that most companies of any large size in the country probably has some government contract.

"PepsiCo is an example of just how broad the ban is - the military PX system buys tens of millions of dollars of Pepsi products each year, to be resold to our servicemen and women. These sales account for a miniscule fraction of Pepsi's sales, but because of this the DISCLOSE Act would silence them.

"Over half of the 100 Fortune 100 companies would be silenced by this ban.

"Meanwhile, unions who represent workers at these companies are free to run all the ads they want."

http://www.campaignfreedom.org/blog/detail/disclose-act-still-overwhelmingly-favors-unions

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3 and ss28: This bill would ban the political spending of many companies—including more than half of the top 50 U.S. corporations—while leaving labor unions, a traditional ally of Democrats—free to spend on politics."

1. the only corporations that are banned from donating are those that have large govt contracts. If you can't see the value in not having those corps that take huge amounts of federal tax money to be banned from contributing to those who would appropriate that money, you don't understand the meaning of corruption. There is no change in the status of unions (unless they have federal contracts) in terms of donations.

"Government contractors would be barred from making campaign-related expenditures, defined to include independent expenditures and electioneering communications. This is an extension of an existing ban on contributions made by government contractors. Before Citizens United, corporations could not make such campaign-related expenditures. A $50,000 contract threshold will be included to exempt small government contractors"

So there is no change for large govt contractors, but small ones can give money.

2. Corporations with more than 20% foreign ownership can't contribute.

What is your beef with keeping foreign owned corporations out of the american political process?

@ss28: Please clean up your use of "we" or "I" when referring to corporations. Actual human people are not having their speech infringed. A few corporations with large government contracts are restricted from making campaign contributions to those who decide which contractors get which contracts.

"afer all using the "enormous" resources of corporations would just be wrong. Did I get that right?"

Its only government contractors that are banned from contributing. Again, without this provision (which was in place before citizens united), corruption would be even more commonplace than it is now.

Personally I would ban all corporate and union contributions, and create a public matching system for those who abide by strict donation and disclosure rules. I think that Buckley is wrongly reasoned and a flawed decision, but that is just me.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"I would note that unions are under most of the same restrictions as corporations are."

Bzzzz!

"There are situations in which unions may have membership that is composed of at least 20 percent non-citizens, but the DISCLOSE Act doesn't treat them the same way as it does business corporations. Unions are not barred from speaking if they have 20 percent foreign membership, nor are their executives required to certify under penalty of perjury that their membership is not composed of 20 percent or more non-citizens.

"Similarly, there are unions that most definitely do have foreign board members - the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, for example, has a Canadian citizen on its board. Yet the DISCLOSE Act does not address this sort of situation, while it does ban corporations that have a majority of foreign citizens on its board from speaking."

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@srw: "The only corporations that are banned from donating are those that have large govt contracts."

Only a few big corps, eh? Nope!

"The contractor ban is the most sweeping and far reaching, and would effectively prohibit political speech by most large corporations in the country. The fact is that most companies of any large size in the country probably has some government contract.

"PepsiCo is an example of just how broad the ban is - the military PX system buys tens of millions of dollars of Pepsi products each year, to be resold to our servicemen and women. These sales account for a miniscule fraction of Pepsi's sales, but because of this the DISCLOSE Act would silence them.

"Over half of the 100 Fortune 100 companies would be silenced by this ban."

@srw: "If you can't see the value in not having those corps that take huge amounts of federal tax money to be banned from contributing to those who would appropriate that money, you don't understand the meaning of corruption."

Perhaps you missed the partial list of unions that receive federal tax money in the form of grants?

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: Some of the biggest campaign spending restrictions outlined in the summary would only affect corporations. For example, large federal contractors, recipients of government bailout funds who have not repaid the money and foreign-owned companies would be banned from election spending.

I don't have any problems with this ban. I am happy to hear you justify why corps with huge govt contracts should be able to donate to the people who decide how much money the govt gives them.

It would be easy for corps who want to participate to spin off their government contracting businesses so that the rest of the corporation could give...

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@srw: "I don't have any problems with this ban."

Good for you!

Please don't try to tell the rest of us that this law treats corps and unions equally. It does not. That's why:

"Eight former members of the Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Committee members. In that letter the former Commissioners noted that:

...we are concerned that DISCLOSE threatens to upend Congress' longstanding tradition of treating corporations and unions in parallel fashion, with similar burdens on each... Failure to maintain that even-handed approach towards unions and corporations threatens public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system."

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: Perhaps you missed the partial list of unions that receive federal tax money in the form of grants?

I have been trying to find out what the grants are for. Without that information it is impossible to judge whether they are a source of corruption or not.

Clearly, if contractors are in competition for contracts, allowing the biggest contractors to flood their chosen candidates with enormous sums of money epitomizes the pay for play corruption.

As my dad said, "Its not that congresscritters are for sale, its that they are so cheap corporations can buy stables of them." And he was just referring to PACs and other "indirect" donations since he died in 1999.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3:we are concerned that DISCLOSE threatens to upend Congress' longstanding tradition of treating corporations and unions in parallel fashion, with similar burdens on each... Failure to maintain that even-handed approach towards unions and corporations threatens public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system.

Well they clearly didn't read the bill. I guess I would like to know the political affiliations of these fec commissioners.

"Government contractors would be barred from making campaign-related expenditures, defined to include independent expenditures and electioneering communications. This is an extension of an existing ban on contributions made by government contractors. Before Citizens United, corporations could not make such campaign-related expenditures. A $50,000 contract threshold will be included to exempt small government contractors"

The money quote "This is an extension of an existing ban on contributions made by government contractors." So this act doesn't change the balance. And non government contractor corporations are now able to give unlimited sums. It seems like corps are getting a pretty sweet deal compared to current law. Feel free to point out where unions are getting new rights that they didn't have before. Their reporting requirements are parallel with corporate requirements.

Posted by: srw3 | July 27, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Snowe/Feinstein update:

"Moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, just told reporters she will not support proceeding with debate on a campaign finance bill, known as the DISCLOSE Act, a move that signals the end of the road for this legislation for now.

"Complaining that there have been “no hearings, no vetting, no attempt to bring people together,” Snowe touted her own past work on the issue and added, “I know the new routine on legislation these days is to ram and jam…but it really does take time…It really does require building a consensus.”

"Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, a gun control advocate, said she will support Democratic leaders’ effort to start debate on the legislation, but spokesman Gil Duran says the senator will not support the bill on final passage. And Feinstein told reporters moments ago that if today’s vote were one to shut off debate and move to final passage, she, too, would be a ‘no’ vote."

Read more: http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/07/27/snowe-says-no-to-schumers-disclose-act/#ixzz0uuk1PHOm

Posted by: sbj3 | July 27, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Three short. Snowe and Collins stayed on the reservation for once and Lieberman wasn't there.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 27, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, well, well.

My first amendment rights will be safe for the balance of today. I am relieved.

I wonder what constitutional rights the liberals will threaten tomorrow. Looking at sbj3's post, it seems that since the Dems failed to snatch my first amendment rights, they'll move on down the list to the second.

Any time a Democrat starts talking about the second amendment patriotic Americans should run (not walk) to their local sporting goods shop and buy a fire arm. disarming the population is among the critical needs of a totalitarian government.

don't believe me? Ask the Brits. They let their government screw them out of their right to keep and bear arms and are now dealing with rampant crime.

In addition they have no means with which to "alter or abolish" a government that is destructive to their rights.

I suspect the Democrats for a simple reason. Liberalism rests on a single foundation, that Americans will work hard and surrender the fruits of the labor to their masters in Washington DC or the State capital, or the county seat or city hall.

A well armed and restive population makes tax collection much more difficult. Liberals can't have that. soooo therefore the constant assault on our rights.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 27, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Snowe getting blowback from a no vote? What the hell are you talking about? She can vote how ever she wants on this with no consequence whatsoever and she voted no because it's a bad bill.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 28, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

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