Did Democrats' deal with the NRA kill campaign finance reform?
At issue is a deal brokered by the House Democratic leadership to exempt the powerful National Rifle Association and others from disclosure requirements in a new campaign finance law.
The derailing this week of the House Disclose Act gave Republicans – still reeling from Rep. Joe Barton’s “apology” to BP CEO Tony Hayward this week – a rare chance to gloat about the pitfalls of cozying up to special interests.
“Van Hollen’s carve-out for special interests has proven about as popular as first-time World Cup ref Koman Coulibaly’s blown call today, which cost the United States a victory,” said House Republican whip Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia in a blog today. His barb was aimed at Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
At issue is a deal brokered by the House Democratic leadership to exempt the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and others from disclosure requirements in a new campaign finance law. The legislation aimed to restore campaign finance limits stripped away by a controversial 5-4 US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which scrapped restrictions on when and how much corporations and unions can spend to influence elections.
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The proposed law would ban some corporations from funding campaign ads and require others to disclose their top five donors in ads and on their websites.
“We believe voters have an absolute right to know who is spending money to try to influence their vote. And this will prevent big special interests from hiding behind front organizations, sham entities, to try and hide from the voter what they're doing. Nobody, nobody should be afraid of this transparency unless they have something to hide,” said Rep. Van Hollen in a press conference introducing the act on April 29.
But cribbing from President Obama’s playbook in cutting early deals with pharmaceutical companies and other potential opponents to move health care legislation, Democrats this week cut deals exempting the NRA as well as the Sierra Club, the Humane Society, and AARP from disclosure requirements in the bill.