Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Senate GOP Filibusters DISCLOSE Act

If there's any question left at all where the Republicans stand on campaign finance reform or transparency, think no more.

Last night, Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader and resident Galapagos tortoise Mitch McConnell, voted against bringing a bill to the floor requiring disclosure of anyone who donates to independent groups that spent more than $10,000 on campaign ads.

Once the supposed leaders in campaign finance disclosure (remember John McCain?), not one, single Republican voted in favor of the ‘Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act of 2012’ or 'DISCLOSE' Act. Not even John McCain.

And what is wrong with wrong with disclosing who is behind the the financing of specific independent ads on either side of the political spectrum? According to a McConnell op-ed, he considers it "un-American." He believes it "punishes political enemies." How so if the bill is equally enforced towards ads supporting both parties? McConnell also says it's a First Amendment infringement on free speech. Well, if what you are financing is something you believe in, something you stand for, why would you be ashamed of attaching your name to it?

The truth of the matter is it has nothing to do with protecting free speech or punishing political enemies. Republicans are blocking a vote on this bill because the majority of anonymous money is funding anti-Obama ads. And for the last three years, the GOP has made it clear that their number one priority above all else is to make President Obama a one term president. If the roles were reversed and it were Romney who was in the crosshairs of most of the superPACS, I would posit that there would have been no such filibuster.

The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court overturned McCain-Feingold except for the ban on foreign corporations or foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending. But how are we to know where the money is actually coming from to fund the superPACS when the donations are anonymous? This loophole could possibly allow foreign entities to play a role in our albeit fractured political campaign finance system. Whether or not this is the most important reason for disclosure is a conversation for another day (I think it should be a major reason), but I digress.

The fact remains that Republicans would rather have millions upon hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the political process without any care as to where it came from. It's dangerous. It should stop. And maybe one day it will when it's the Republicans who are on the short end of the stick.

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