We've kept you updated on the so-called DISCLOSE Act over the last couple of days. The hideousness of the bill's free-speech restrictions and its partisan purpose are easily understood simply by reading no further than the sponsors line (see Eliza Carney at National Journal): U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollan (D-Md.) and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the current House Democrat Campaign Committee chair and the two-time Democrat Senate Campaign Committee chair, respectively. As the Wall Street Journal reports, this bill is Senator Schumer's tool to take over as Majority Leader. Fortunately, last night, if barely, the Senate failed to invoke cloture, losing on a 57-41 vote (60 votes were needed). All Republicans voted no with the exception of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who voted with the GOP for a procedural reason. Virginia's two Democrat Senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb, predictably voted to stifle free speech. (See and hear what Senator Warner thinks about people with opposing views.) One Republican, Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) was absent, but presumably on the correct side.
With the Senate about to take its August recess, the bill may be dead for the year. But there's no guarantee the Dems won't go after their favorite Republicans — Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — or try a parliamentary trick to pass it. Anything to maintain their grip on absolute power.
The Senate's rejection of the DISCLOSE Act is a victory for free speech rights and for the democratic process. Liberals in Congress failed in their attempt to push through legislation which only amounts to Democrat incumbent protection legislation disguised as campaign finance reform.
Instead of addressing the problems often found in the financing of campaigns, the DISCLOSE Act would add to the already onerous burdens placed on organizations that act within the law by going after their donors and exposing them in public forums. The exceptions, or "carve-outs," in this unconstitutional bill demonstrate the hypocrisy of its supporters. They provide special treatment for select special interest groups in a bill supposedly designed to crack down on the power of special interests.