The DISCLOSE Act, the Democrats' response to January's controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision, narrowly passed the House Thursday by a vote of 219 to 206.
The DISCLOSE Act, the Democrats' response to January's controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision, narrowly passed the House Thursday by a vote of 219 to 206. The Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act (yes, a mouthful), is designed to increase disclosure regulations for third party groups airing election ads. Democrats, led by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), rushed to get the bill to the floor in hopes that it would be enacted in time for the midterm elections. Democrats sought to make the bill bipartisan - a la McCain-Feingold - but a quick scan of the roll call shows that only two Republicans voted for the bill. They were Reps. Mike Castle (Del.) and Anh Cao (La.). Initial response to the bill's passage has been predictable. RNC Chairman Michael Steele said the bill is "just another round of political gamesmanship." "It is regrettable," Steel added, "that Democrats are more focused on blatantly stacking the electoral deck ahead of the midterms than they are about creating jobs and reducing the debt." Groups that support campaign finance reform - and supported the legislation - immediately issued releases applauding the vote. "Passage of the DISCLOSE Act by the House today is a victory for citizens over special interests," wrote the Campaign Legal Center. "The fact that today’s vote was so close is a sad testament to the power of special interests in Washington." The DISCLOSE Act followed a somewhat typical legislative track for legislation recently: It was a sure thing, then it was pronounced dead, then the Democrats used their majority to get it passed. It now heads to the Senate where its path is far less clear. In addition to the Democrats holding a smaller majority, the bill will also go up against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) - one of the staunchest opponents of campaign finance regulation. For more on what's in the bill, click here. Jeremy P. Jacobs is the deputy editor of C&E.