Strike one against freedom of speech. The incumbents are half-way to their goal of silencing open discussion of election issues, except by certain exempted groups. (Favoritism is tyranny.)
Overcoming opposition from within their own ranks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic House leaders pushed through a controversial campaign finance reform bill Thursday on a 219-206 vote.
The DISCLOSE — Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Election — Act will require corporations, labor unions, trade associations and advocacy groups to publicly declare their role in TV ads or mass mailings during the closing months of a political campaign, including where the money is coming from to pay for such activities. Foreign-controlled corporations and big government contractors would also be barred from paying for such political activities.
But the House bill exempts the National Rifle Association, unions and other special interests from all or part of the legislation, which Republicans charged was the product of “backroom deals” and Democrats said was necessary to get the bill passed. Floor debate over the bill was heated, with each side accusing the other of acting in bad faith and using the fight to advance its own partisan agenda.
“Backroom deals.” Yeah, you think?
Though I’ve not yet found the names of the weasels who voted for this, the New York Times posted this article with a few more details:
“They want to use their majority here in the House to silence their political opponents for just one election,” the House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said in a floor speech. “They have produced a bill full of loopholes designed to help their friends while silencing their political opponents.”
Mr. Boehner added: “We in the House take an oath, to preserve to protect and to defend our Constitution. And anyone who votes for this bill today, I’ll tell you, is violating the oath that they took when they became a member of this organization.”
Republicans derisively noted that Mr. Van Hollen, the prime sponsor of the bill, is also the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responsible for coordinating the party’s election efforts and defending its majority in November.
Among those to make that point was the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has made opposition to restrictions on campaign financing one of the signature priorities of his career in Congress.
“This bill isn’t about preserving any principle of transparency,” Mr. McConnell said. “It’s about protecting incumbent Democrat politicians.”
Senate Republicans control enough votes to filibuster the measure, and given the tense climate of a midterm election year, it is not clear that Senate Democrats will have the stomach for a protracted fight.
Seem legitimate to you? What was that about transparent, open government I seem to remember from President Obama? It’s getting too foggy to remember now.
If something seems a bit fishy to you, let your representatives in the Senate know about it. Let them know that if they fail you, they’re out a job in November.
My previous post on this subject gives you plenty of details on exactly how to do that. Since I don’t have the list of who voted which direction, I don’t yet know whether John Salazar paid heed to my plea. Perhaps I should send a reminder to Mark Udall and Michael Bennet—just in case they didn’t get the memo?