Can Democrats Force Greater Disclosure on Campaign Finance?

A crucial vote scheduled for this afternoon

This article is from the archive of our partner .

It's looking like Democrats won't be able to muster enough votes to break a filibuster of their campaign finance reform bill, set for a vote Tuesday afternoon. The DISCLOSE Act is a legislative response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, opening up the floodgates for corporate donations. The Wire already covered both supporters' and opponents' ambivalence about this attempted fix, which would force greater disclosure of which corporations are paying for what campaign advertising: when an exception was made for the NRA, and then, to pacify enraged liberals, other groups such as the Sierra Club, the bill got messier.

How likely is the bill to fail, and what is the political result if it does, given that both parties claim the other's position is a cynical attempt to maximize midterm wins?

  • White House Response Already Ready, observes Greg Sargent for The Washington Post: "The White House is already going on the offensive, directly calling out Republicans for obstructing the measure, signaling that this will be a major campaign issue this fall, whatever the vote's outcome."
  • Likely to Fail  "It's likely that Democrats don't have the 60 Senate votes needed to invoke cloture when the vote takes place at 2:45 pm ET.," writes MSNBC's First Read team. Politico's Meredith Shiner points out that it may have been Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine who "delivered a fatal blow to the bill Monday," saying she wouldn't support it. Greg Sargent's Morning Plum post for The Washington Post explains that the expectation of Democratic defeat is based on the fact that Democrats "couldn't get a single Republican to support their effort."
  • A Done Deal: It's Not Happening  The Huffington Post's Sam Stein tweets that Senator Lieberman "will miss the DISCLOSE Act vote this afternoon, basically guaranteeing its defeat."
  • A Slight Chance  Greg Sargent makes a fascinating update to the developing story. Only one Republican vote is needed to pass the bill, and it turns out there might still be a vote open:
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 ... 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 ... Snowe will likely offer her final declaration early this afternoon, at which point we'll know for certain what will happen.
  • Alternative Routes  David Dayen at Firedoglake, covering a campaign finance panel with Representatives Alan Grayson and Donna Edwards, emphasizes the diversity of approaches liberals plan to take on this issue:
If the courts throw up a roadblock, there are legislative remedies. If President Snowe throws up a roadblock, there are ways in the area of advocacy to make that a difficult vote for her. If the legislative track breaks through, that’s still not enough. “We have to work on the Constitutional front,” Edwards said, touting an amendment that would allow bans on corporate political spending.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.