The DISCLOSE Act has died again.
Senate Democrats’ second attempt in less than 24 hours to advance the campaign finance bill failed Tuesday — even after at least 16 senators held the floor for six hours Monday night in support of the measure.
On a strictly partisan 53-45 vote, it fell short of the 60 votes needed to break a GOP filibuster. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is recovering from a January seizure, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) did not vote.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would force unions, nonprofits and corporate interest groups that spend $10,000 or more during an election cycle to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more. Whitehouse’s version no longer required sponsors of electioneering ads to have a disclaimer at the end and pushed the effective date to 2013.
“When somebody is spending the kind of money that is being spent, a single donor making, for instance, a $4 million anonymous contribution, they’re not doing that out of the goodness of their heart,” Whitehouse said on the floor.
Prior to the vote, Democrats called upon Republicans who have previously spoken in favor of greater transparency and campaign finance reform to vote “yes” on the bill today. Those targeted Republican senators such as Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), all voted against the DISCLOSE Act both times.
In a floor speech against the DISCLOSE Act, McCain, co-sponsor of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which overhauled campaign finance law, said Whitehouse’s bill doesn’t cut it.
“The American people will see it for what it is – political opportunism at its best, political demagoguery at its worst,” McCain said.
Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), maintain that the measure favors unions and violates the First Amendment.
“This could best be described as a selective disclosure act,” McConnell said in his weekly press conference. “It has managed to generate opposition from everybody from the ACLU to NRA. That’s quite an accomplishment.”