You gotta love the Progressives. They never give up. Today, the DISCLOSE Act failed to pass. The Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act would effectively muzzle most political action groups, advocacy organizations, and issue groups (except for the NRA, the Unions, and the AARP, all of which were exempted from the law). The procedural vote on the was 57-41, falling three votes shy of the 60 needed to head off a Republican filibuster, as reported by NBC. The GOP voted as one against the bill, and because Joe Libermann (I-Connecticut) was absent for a funeral, the bill failed. One prominent Dem voted “nay”: Senator Harry Reid. Huh?
You might ask yourself, “Self, why would Harry Reid, a proponent of the DISCLOSE Act, vote against it.” Ah, but you’re obviously not versed in the wiley ways of the Senate and their arcane rules on failed legislation. It seems that only someone from the “losing side” can bring the bill back up for a vote. Understand? Neither do I. But rest assured, Reid does.
The DISCLOSE Act likely wouldn’t have passed Constitutional muster, as it would silence some groups and allow others to fund political advertising, but it also likely would have survived just long enough to affect the outcome of this Fall’s Congressional elections. The bill’s backers wanted to head off any “SwiftBoat”-style attack ads at the pass. Nonetheless, Reid’s move preserves the possibility threat that the bill will live on to sneak through another day.
What would the DISCLOSE Act mean to you? Well, it would have effectively muzzled any pro-gun lobby group (outside the specifically-exempted NRA) from running ads in this next election cycle, thus giving the anti-gun candidates a leg up. The law was carefully crafted to allow unions a free pass at political ads, so the other side would have been well-represented.
Will the law come back up? Bet on it. The Dems want to tip the scales to their advantage, and maintain their hold on power by any means necessary. Not that the GOP should be lining up to apply for sainthood any time soon. They are typically just not as blatant as the Dems are, when it comes to abuses of power.
Ultimately, the solution isn’t the defeat of the DISCLOSE Act, or even a Republican takeover of Congress. Nope. The solution is much simpler – and more difficult to achieve than that. Throw the rascals out. All of them. On both sides.
Now that’s change I can believe in.