On Tuesday, supporters of the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act (S. 3628) failed to gain sufficient votes to advance the measure in the Senate. By a vote of 57-41, the motion to invoke cloture on the bill fell short of the 60 votes necessary to end debate. This campaign finance legislation would require most organizations to report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the origins of the funds used for political advertising, and place strict limits on political spending by most federal contractors and foreign-controlled companies. This bill was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC released earlier this year that eased the ban on corporate and union political spending by holding that such restrictions are unconstitutional.
Last month, the House of Representatives narrowly cleared its version of the bill (H.R. 5175) by a 219-206 margin. Provisions in this draft seen as carving out exceptions for labor unions had drawn heavy fire from the business community. While the Senate version removed some of the offending provisions, it still includes sections that limit spending by companies with significant federal contracts or a high percentage of foreign investors, restrictions that largely do not affect labor unions.
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