House Democrats have tentatively scheduled a floor vote this week on the DISCLOSE Act, a campaign finance measure they hope will counter the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. A source on Capitol Hill confirmed the Democrats’ plans, but noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a lot to get done before Congress breaks for its Memorial Day vacation at the end of the week.
With the support of President Obama, congressional Democrats have seized the campaign-finance issue as an election-year ploy to attack corporations. The DISCLOSE Act, which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending Elections, is sponsored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The House Administration Committee approved the bill last Thursday on a party-line 6-3 vote.
The measure would require new disclaimers on all TV ads funded by corporations, essentially forcing CEOs to endorse the ads, just as politicians currently do. There are several other regulations that raise free speech concerns, including disclosing the names of donors in TV ads and restricting political ads from companies that are partially owned by foreign businesses or receive taxpayer funds. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called it a “massive incumbent protection program.”