Senate vote for cloture on the Disclose Act today

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Disclose Act is the response of Congress to the conservative activist U.S. Supreme Court that greenlighted the ability of corporations (including foreign-owned corporations) to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections in Citizens United v. FEC, overturning a century of federal law and judicial precedents.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate has scheduled a cloture vote to test yet another Republican obstructionist filibuster on behalf of their corporate overlords.

The Disclose Act is a measure that would impose strict campaign-donation disclosure requirements on unions and corporations that sponsor political ads. Obama argues for campaign-finance law:

The bill would require most independent groups, including labor unions and corporations, to disclose the names of the top five donors whose money helped fund political ads. It also would require corporate and union executives to appear in political ads that their organizations help pay for and state that he or she "approves this message," as candidates currently do in campaign commercials.

The bill also would prevent the use of federal TARP money in elections and curb foreign nationals and countries from contributing to campaigns.

Predictably, the "Party of No" is opposed to the disclosure requirements: "Corporations are people too!" — with rights superior to American citizens. "The corporatocracy rules!" Where is Mr. "I know how to do campaign finance reform" now? That's right, Sen. John McCain is rolling in millions from corporate executives and their minions of corporate lobbyists, and he will vote in lockstep with the "Party of No." The man is a fraud.

From the White House blog President Obama on Citizens United: "Imagine the Power This Will Give Special Interests Over Politicians":

With a Senate vote [Tuesday] on legislation to undo some of the damage from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the President laid out the stakes in no uncertain terms:

A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than a vote to allow corporate and special interest takeovers of our elections. It is damaging to our democracy. It is precisely what led a Republican President named Theodore Roosevelt to tackle this issue a century ago.

As the President discussed in his State of the Union address months ago, this decision essentially opened the floodgates for the influence of huge corporations, including foreign-owned corporations, on our elections.  Speaking in the Rose Garden, the President explained what this new limitless flow of undisclosed money will mean:

They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads –- and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who’s actually paying for the ads.  Instead, a group can hide behind a name like “Citizens for a Better Future,” even if a more accurate name would be “Companies for Weaker Oversight.”  These shadow groups are already forming and building war chests of tens of millions of dollars to influence the fall elections

Now, imagine the power this will give special interests over politicians.  Corporate lobbyists will be able to tell members of Congress if they don’t vote the right way, they will face an onslaught of negative ads in their next campaign.  And all too often, no one will actually know who’s really behind those ads.   

Once again, with a solution at hand, Republican leadership in the Senate stands in the way, hoping to deny an up-or-down vote:

So the House has already passed a bipartisan bill that would change all this before the next election.  The DISCLOSE Act would simply require corporate political advertisers to reveal who’s funding their activities.  So when special interests take to the airwaves, whoever is running and funding the ad would have to appear in the advertisement and claim responsibility for it -– like a company’s CEO or the organization’s biggest contributor.  And foreign-controlled corporations and entities would be restricted from spending money to influence American elections — just as they were in the past.

Pounding his hand on his pedestal, the President emphasized again that simple bringing transparency to this kind of spending is about as common-sense as you can get:

And you’d think that reducing corporate and even foreign influence over our elections would not be a partisan issue.  But of course, this is Washington in 2010.  And the Republican leadership in the Senate is once again using every tactic and every maneuver they can to prevent the DISCLOSE Act from even coming up for an up or down vote.  Just like they did with unemployment insurance for Americans who’d lost their jobs in this recession.  Just like they’re doing by blocking tax credits and lending assistance for small business owners.  On issue after issue, we are trying to move America forward, and they keep on trying to take us back. 

At a time of such challenge for America, we can’t afford these political games.  Millions of Americans are struggling to get by, and their voices shouldn’t be drowned out by millions of dollars in secret, special interest advertising.  The American people’s voices should be heard.

UPDATE: The cloture vote failed to achieve 60 votes when Republicans voted in lockstep for their corporate overlords. The vote was 57-41. Even the mythical moderates from Maine, which has a clean elections program, voted no. And of course, Mr. "I know how to do campaign finance reform" McCain, who also comes from a state with a clean elections program, voted no. What a fraud. 

Sen. Harry Reid switched his vote to "no" to preserve his right to bring a motion for reconsideration at a later time. Sen. Joe Liebermann was absent from this vote. I am not sure whom is the missing Republican senator.

The Republicans have abused the Senate's filibuster rule more than any minority party in the history of the Senate during this Congress. When a majority — 58 senators — vote for a bill it should become law. This is a tyranny of the minority who are doing the bidding of corporatists. The filibuster is not in the Constitution nor in statutory law, it is simply a Senate rule. This plutocratic millionaire's boys and girls club needs to change its rules to become more democratic.

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