Democrats Seek Disclosure On Political Ads

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. i i

hide captionSen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and his Democratic Senate colleagues take part in a campaign finance news conference Thursday in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Harry Hamburg/AP
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and his Democratic Senate colleagues take part in a campaign finance news conference Thursday in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Harry Hamburg/AP

Two Republicans are joining with congressional Democrats on new legislation to force disclosure of corporate money in politics.

House and Senate versions of the bill were rolled out Thursday, nearly four months after a Supreme Court decision that gives corporations and unions the First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts on campaign advertising.

But Democrats had started promising pushback legislation even before the ink was dry on the Supreme Court ruling. Although they can't legislate against the First Amendment basis for the decision they can enact disclosure laws that would put any corporate politicking in a spotlight.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the bill's disclosure requirements would apply to corporations and unions and to front groups that finance negative ad campaigns.

"If you're going to run these ads, you should have to disclose, no matter who you are," Schumer said.

No Republicans are supporting the Senate bill, but two of them have signed onto the House version: Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware and Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina.

Although Jones voted against the campaign finance overhaul in 2002, he says he sees this one differently.

"I believe I'm going to be correct when I make this statement: You're going to see the American people start taking an interest in this legislation, and say, 'Return this government back to me,'" Jones said.

Before that, however, there's likely to be fierce debate.

On one side, there's President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said he would bring the bill to the floor before July 4.

On the Other, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the bill won't bring reform, transparency or accountability. House Republican leader John Boehner called it a cynical ploy.

Whatever Congress does with the bill, its backers want it on the books for this fall's election though nobody knows if corporate decision-makers will take that high-profile leap into politics.

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