REID: "If this flood of outside money continues, the day after the election, 17 angry old white men will wake up and realize they just bought the country. That's a sad commentary. About 60 percent, or more, of these outside dollars [contributing $10,000 or more] are coming from these 17 people."The Senate will vote shortly on the Democrats' effort to fight back against Citizens United and the unlimited amount of money that can be raised and spent in secret on American political campaigns. This is yet another procedural vote, cloture on whether or not the Senate should consider having an actual vote on shedding some light on the vast, shadowy groups pouring money into our elections.
Democrats have resurrected 2010's DISCLOSE Act to simply require the disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending by outside groups. It doesn't restrict fundraising and spending, it just requires reporting of that information. The bill has even been scaled back a little bit from the 2010 version, reducing the disclosure burden on covered organizations and providing ways for organizations to keep non-political donations private. Will those changes be enough to garner Republican support? Of course not, despite the fact that as late as 2000, Republicans were completely gung-ho for campaign spending disclosure.
In fact, in 2000, Senate Republicans joined Democrats in overwhelmingly passing a bill, 92 to 6, that required a growing number of secretive tax-exempt groups to reveal their donors and spending. [...]Those 14 Republican senators: Dick Lugar (IN), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Orrin Hatch (UT), Richard Shelby (AL), Jeff Sessions (AL), Pat Roberts (KS), Mike Enzi (WY), Chuck Grassley (IA), Susan Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME), Jon Kyl (AZ), John McCain (AZ), Mike Crapo (ID) and Thad Cochran (MS). They all voted for transparency, back in the day, and another handful, including Scott Brown (MA), John Cornyn (TX) and even Mitch McConnell (KY), have touted the importance of transparency in political money.
Of today's Republican senators, 14 were there in 2000 and voted in favor of disclosure.
Chances are very, very good that they won't be behind transparency today, and Democrats know it. They are already planning a "midnight vigil" to keep the Senate debate on the bill going and to force another vote tomorrow. "We recognize that you don’t win every fight in round one, and this is a fight worth continuing," says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). He'll be joined by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Al Franken (D-MN) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
It's probably going to be a long night for those senators. Republicans aren't going to let their secret billions be exposed.
White House statement on the DISCLOSE Act.
3:42 PM PT (Meteor Blades): The cloture failed 51-44. Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote from aye to nay in order to be able to stand on the prevailing side and resubmit the motion.