Democrats Seek Disclosure On Political Ads Two House Republicans joined with congressional Democrats on the new legislation that would force the disclosure of corporate money in politics. The measures come nearly four months after a Supreme Court decision that gives corporations and unions First Amendment rights.
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Democrats Seek Disclosure On Political Ads

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Democrats Seek Disclosure On Political Ads

Democrats Seek Disclosure On Political Ads

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

In a time of fierce political attacks, this may be as close to bipartisanship as you're going to get. Two Republicans are joining with Congressional Democrats on a new legislation. It would force disclosure of corporate money in politics. House and Senate versions of the bill were rolled out yesterday, several months after a Supreme Court decision that gives corporations and unions the First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts on campaign ads. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY: Standing in front of the Supreme Court, across the street from the Capitol, Senator Chuck Schumer said the bill's disclosure requirements would apply to corporations and unions and to front groups that finance negative ad campaigns.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Everyone, if you're going to run these ads, you should have to disclose, no matter who you are.

OVERBY: No Republicans are supporting the Senate bill, but two of them have signed onto the House version: Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina voted against the big campaign finance overhaul in 2002, but he sees this one differently.

WALTER JONES: When this gets outside of Washington and people understand what we're trying to do, 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.

OVERBY: There was a preview of all of this right after Schumer's press conference: advocates from groups for and against the bill going at it for 10 minutes. At one point, David Bossie, head of the conservative group that brought the corporate money issue to the Supreme Court to begin with, wound up face to face with Meredith McGehee, a long-time advocate for tighter campaign finance rules.

DAVID BOSSEY: Once again the government has the ability to say who can participate and who can't.

MEREDITH MCGEHEE: No, it's a bill that says the citizens need to know.

BOSSEY: That's - and that's a chilling effect on free speech.

MCGEHEE: No, it's sunshine.

BOSSEY: That's exactly what it is.

MCGEHEE: It's not chilling...

BOSSEY: Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.

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