photo: interrupt via Flickr

One thing I missed while at Netroots Nation is the fact that the DISCLOSE Act will get a vote on a motion to proceed tomorrow in the Senate, in all likelihood, with a newer version from Chuck Schumer that includes some changes from the House version, some good, some bad:

Schumer has left intact a contentious provision exempting the National Rifle Association and several other large organizations from the reporting requirements of the legislation. But he has removed other language that had been backed by the AFL-CIO and other unions excusing the labor organizations from having to report money transfers between affiliates.

An AFL-CIO spokesman said the giant labor organization hasn’t decided whether it will oppose the Schumer bill yet, but noted that union officials were displeased that the senator has stripped the affiliate transfer. Though it might ultimately cost the unions’ support, Schumer believes the move will pre-empt GOP attacks that the bill panders to such groups.

“Based on reports, we are concerned that recent developments could hamper working families’ ability to have a voice in the political process. We continue to review the legislation and fight to ensure that the final bill addresses the tilted advantage that big business has enjoyed for far too long.”

Schumer also did not include a measure inserted into the House bill by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that bars any company holding leases for drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf from engaging in political activity. The Kucinich amendment was aimed at the U.S. subsidiary of oil giant BP.

The Senate bill also requires campaigns to electronically file versions of their disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission. House candidates and incumbents are currently required to do so, but Senate campaigns file paper reports, which are then posted online after being scanned into electronic format.

The Kucinich amendment extended the bar on government contractors from political spending to lease-holders. The affiliate transfer disclosure disappoints unions, but I’m not sure it should strike others as such a big deal except symbolically, as Congress bends over backwards to exempt the NRA from disclosure agreements but not labor. That last one, putting Senate campaign disclosure forms online for the first time, is really important and long overdue.

It doesn’t look like this motion to proceed on Tuesday will reach 60 votes, and is being set out more for political calculations. As Alan Grayson said at a campaign finance panel at Netroots Nation on Saturday, “President Snowe says she’s against it.” But Grayson and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) stressed the importance of working on all fronts to react to the Citizens United decision. If the courts throw up a roadblock, there are legislative remedies. If President Snowe throws up a roadblock, there are ways in the area of advocacy to make that a difficult vote for her. If the legislative track breaks through, that’s still not enough. “We have to work on the Constitutional front,” Edwards said, touting an amendment that would allow bans on corporate political spending. “On all the major issues we face, we back up against a wall of corporate money. They don’t just want to influence the political process, want to own the process. These are our elections, and this is about who we are… We can tell people that we won’t let anyone own our elections.” Edwards received the loudest standing ovation I saw at the entire conference.

One thing I missed while at Netroots Nation is the fact that the DISCLOSE Act will get a vote on a motion to proceed tomorrow in the Senate, in all likelihood, with a newer version from Chuck Schumer that includes some changes from the House version, some good, some bad:

Schumer has left intact a contentious provision exempting the National Rifle Association and several other large organizations from the reporting requirements of the legislation. But he has removed other language that had been backed by the AFL-CIO and other unions excusing the labor organizations from having to report money transfers between affiliates.

An AFL-CIO spokesman said the giant labor organization hasn’t decided whether it will oppose the Schumer bill yet, but noted that union officials were displeased that the senator has stripped the affiliate transfer. Though it might ultimately cost the unions’ support, Schumer believes the move will pre-empt GOP attacks that the bill panders to such groups.

“Based on reports, we are concerned that recent developments could hamper working families’ ability to have a voice in the political process. We continue to review the legislation and fight to ensure that the final bill addresses the tilted advantage that big business has enjoyed for far too long.”

Schumer also did not include a measure inserted into the House bill by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that bars any company holding leases for drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf from engaging in political activity. The Kucinich amendment was aimed at the U.S. subsidiary of oil giant BP.

The Senate bill also requires campaigns to electronically file versions of their disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission. House candidates and incumbents are currently required to do so, but Senate campaigns file paper reports, which are then posted online after being scanned into electronic format.

The Kucinich amendment extended the bar on government contractors from political spending to lease-holders. The affiliate transfer disclosure disappoints unions, but I’m not sure it should strike others as such a big deal except symbolically, as Congress bends over backwards to exempt the NRA from disclosure agreements but not labor. That last one, putting Senate campaign disclosure forms online for the first time, is really important and long overdue.

It doesn’t look like this motion to proceed on Tuesday will reach 60 votes, and is being set out more for political calculations. As Alan Grayson said at a campaign finance panel at Netroots Nation on Saturday, “President Snowe says she’s against it.” But Grayson and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) stressed the importance of working on all fronts to react to the Citizens United decision. If the courts throw up a roadblock, there are legislative remedies. If President Snowe throws up a roadblock, there are ways in the area of advocacy to make that a difficult vote for her. If the legislative track breaks through, that’s still not enough. “We have to work on the Constitutional front,” Edwards said, touting an amendment that would allow bans on corporate political spending. “On all the major issues we face, we back up against a wall of corporate money. They don’t just want to influence the political process, want to own the process. These are our elections, and this is about who we are… We can tell people that we won’t let anyone own our elections.” Edwards received the loudest standing ovation I saw at the entire conference.

David Dayen

David Dayen