On Our Way To Auctions Not Elections

On July 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm (Eastern) S. 3369 was successfully filibustered by the Republican minority in the United States Senate.   Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) cast a procedural “no” on cloture to allow for a possible re-introduction; Senator Dean Heller did not cast a vote.  S. 3369 is commonly known as the Disclose Act.

The core of the legislation is simple: (emphasis added)

`(1) IN GENERAL- Any covered organization that makes campaign-related disbursements aggregating more than $10,000 in an election reporting cycle shall, not later than 24 hours after each disclosure date, file a statement with the Commission made under penalty of perjury that contains the information described in paragraph (2)–

`(A) in the case of the first statement filed under this subsection, for the period beginning on the first day of the election reporting cycle and ending on the first such disclosure date; and

`(B) in the case of any subsequent statement filed under this subsection, for the period beginning on the previous disclosure date and ending on such disclosure date.
`(2) INFORMATION DESCRIBED- The information described in this paragraph is as follows:

`(A) The name of the covered organization and the principal place of business of such organization.

`(B) The amount of each campaign-related disbursement made by such organization during the period covered by the statement of more than $1,000, and the name and address of the person to whom the disbursement was made.

`(C) In the case of a campaign-related disbursement that is not a covered transfer, the election to which the campaign-related disbursement pertains and if the disbursement is made for a public communication, the name of any candidate identified in such communication and whether such communication is in support of or in opposition to a candidate.

`(D) A certification by the chief executive officer or person who is the head of the covered organization that the campaign-related disbursement is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, authorized committee, or agent of a candidate, political party, or agent of a political party.

`(E) If the covered organization makes campaign-related disbursements using exclusively funds in a segregated bank account consisting of funds that were paid directly to such account by persons other than the covered organization that controls the account, for each such payment to the account–

`(i) the name and address of each person who made such payment during the period covered by the statement;

`(ii) the date and amount of such payment; and

`(iii) the aggregate amount of all such payments made by the person during the period beginning on the first day of the election reporting cycle and ending on the disclosure date;

but only if such payment was made by a person who made payments to the account in an aggregate amount of $10,000 or more during the period beginning on the first day of the election reporting cycle and ending on the disclosure date.

There’s nothing all that complicated about the bill.  If an organization spends money on behalf of a candidate, the expenditure should be disclosed.  If a donor contributes more than $10,000 the donor should be disclosed.   There are NO special provisions for labor unions, there are no special provisions for the benefit of any special interest group.

And, the GOP successfully filibustered the bill., 51-44 with five not voting.   [roll call 179]

Senator Mitch McConnell, formerly an advocate of Disclosure saying it is “nothing less than an effort by the government itself to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation.”  [TP] Here’s a question: If one is a legitimate critic of the government then wouldn’t one’s advocacy be a badge of honor?

It was a dark day for democracy when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United that money = speech.  It is darker now that we can’t see where all that “speech” is coming from.

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