Brown’s No on DISCLOSE Act could mean its end

posted at 2:55 pm on July 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats in Congress wanted desperately to find some way to mitigate the damage to its campaign-finance regulatory structure from the Citizens United v FEC ruling earlier this year, and hoped that the DISCLOSE Act would find enough GOP votes to pass.  Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has committed to voting against it, and with no GOP sponsors in the Senate, the bill looks like it may die before the summer recess:

In a letter to groups that urged him to back the legislation, Brown said the DISCLOSE Act did not go far enough in requiring “transparency, accountability and fair play.”

“Rather than reform our campaign finance laws and provide increased transparency, the DISCLOSE Act advances the political agenda of the majority party and special interests in an effort to gain a tactical and political advantage little more than 100 days before an election,” Brown wrote.

Brown’s support was seen as crucial to the bill’s success. The DISCLOSE Act, sponsored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), passed the House by a narrow margin last month, but chief Senate sponsor Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been unable to find a GOP partner for the bill. Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid has promised floor time for the bill before the Aug. recess, but without Brown’s vote it faces dim prospects.

Finance reform advocates at the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and Public Citizen sent Brown a letter last week urging his support for the bill. So far, Schumer hasn’t been able to win over Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) orSusan Collins (R-ME), 2 other Dem targets who have supported new campaign finance reforms in the past.

The problem for Brown and other Republicans is the nakedly political tilt of DISCLOSE.  It would limit spending by corporations, but unlike previous campaign finance reform, would allow unions to spend without limit.  It also exempts large politically-motivated groups while burdening grassroots organizations with regulations that would unfairly put them at risk for legal action, simply on the basis of size.

Not only does DISCLOSE favor sources of funding for the Democratic Party, it also favors traditional media outlets over New Media.  As two former FEC commissioners noted in May, the DISCLOSE Act has exemptions for media corporations on political speech — but remain silent on bloggers.  The question of undue influence hardly favors that tilt, especially when one considers the relative size of the audiences involved.  Mort Zuckerman’s claim to have ghost-written an Obama speech makes that perfectly plain.

In truth, Congress has no business limiting political speech, as the First Amendment makes specifically clear.  But this effort has been grossly cynical and self-serving even for those engaged in campaign finance reform, which has taken the form of incumbent protection since McCain-Feingold first floated to the surface.  Brown’s opposition is most welcome, and with any luck, DISCLOSE will get flushed out of the Beltway this summer.


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This is why I still prefer a Scott Brown to a Martha Coakley.

amerpundit on July 14, 2010 at 2:57 PM

NRA sold its soul for nothing?

lorien1973 on July 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM

All of the people here that were pissed of at Scott Brown for being a typical Mass-uh-chew-sits Republican are going to be patting him on the back for this. I swear to god, a bunch of schizophrenics on the right!

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I’m still incensed over not seeing humpbot on election night—alas,….Scotty B does bring another squishy glimmer of hope occasionally. I’m glad he made the right choice on this one. He’s still a jac*off for supporting that financial reform bill, though.

ted c on July 14, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Now, if we can just change his mind on financial reform…

parteagirl on July 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I donated to Scott Brown, but I don’t like being surprised when he is actually voting with the Republicans and not “reaching across the aisle.”

I have better candidates to whom I can contribute in the future.

bw222 on July 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I haven’t heard the fat lady sing, so I won’t proclaim it dead until I smell the corpse.

Extrafishy on July 14, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Good for him! I was hoping he might occasionally show some non-RINO tendencies.

Now we need to the the NRA know how we feel about their selling out on this loser bill.

iurockhead on July 14, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Brown still stinks for saying he will vote Yes on Financial Regs. He is a ZigZag McLame idealogist/opportunist.

Buckeye Babe on July 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM

It’s sad when we have to pray that republican senators do the right thing on free political speech. I am shocked that McCain and Graham and Snowe have not climbed on board this monstros- ity as they have for most of the other democrap poison pill bills. However, I will not praise any of these republicans until the votes are cast. We have learned the hard way that RINOs may talk the talk before a vote, but when the buzzer sounds, suddenly they find something ‘of value’ in the bill that somehow caused them to change their minds and the public is caught holding the bill.

eaglewingz08 on July 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM

I donated to Scott Brown, but I don’t like being surprised when he is actually voting with the Republicans and not “reaching across the aisle.”

I have better candidates to whom I can contribute in the future.

bw222 on July 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Agreed. But you gotta admit, it’s not likely we’ll get anything better our of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.

iurockhead on July 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Someone at NRO perceptively noted that Brown does occupy the “Kennedy Seat” in a way. He is the Anthony Kennedy of the Senate. The swing vote the Dems think they can get. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Like Anthony Kennedy, Brown’s choices do not appear to reflect an overall philosophy.

I think Brown was worth the initial investment to take away the guaranteed 60th vote.

I doubt if he’s worth a continued investment, but he will need to make a pitch for conservative dollars and votes come 2012. “I’m the lesser of two evils, despite the fact that I’m a RINO who pokes you in the eye now and then” didn’t work well for McCain.

Wethal on July 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Its just so painful to have the republic hanging on links as weak as Snowe, Collins and Brown.

Firefly_76 on July 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM

The guy with the Pick-up truck strikes again.

portlandon on July 14, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I love that Scott Brown’s small amount of time as a Senator in Mass., trumps anything that John Kerry has accomplished in the decades he has been a Senator from Mass.

portlandon on July 14, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I live in Boston, and when you are a republican senator here, you have to zig zag your way through stuff like this. You have to pick your battles. He is voting no on this, cus he voted yes on the financial bill. I think this does more harm to us than that.

He has to do this, or else he will be the former senator. All of you blasting him need to chill out. I wonder what you will think if we had Coakley.

Chudi on July 14, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Is Scott Brown the Anthony Kennedy of the Senate?

fossten on July 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Still not happy with Brown on the financial overhaul.

Enoxo on July 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Unions should be dismantled

faraway on July 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Come 2011, Brown won’t be the desirable 60th vote. Neither will the Maine Twins. One hopes the GOP gets over the squish threshold by taking seats, but then we do have McCain, Graham, Grassley, Lugar and Alexander. They don’t all squish at the same time, though.

So Brown will find out what it is like to be a junior senator. He will have seniority over the incoming GOP senators, but otherwise will have to start working his way up the pecking order. Kind of like your 15 minutes of fame ending…

Wethal on July 14, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Counting the blessings as they come!

capejasmine on July 14, 2010 at 3:14 PM

I’m guessing that Scott Brown is holding out for a better offer.

hawksruleva on July 14, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Thanks Scott. I’m getting a bit of value from the donation to his campaign.

Mojave Mark on July 14, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Chudi on July 14, 2010 at 3:11 PM

I agree. In a deep blue state like MA, a RINO appears to be the best the GOP can hope for.

Wethal on July 14, 2010 at 3:15 PM

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 3:00 PM

You’re right. I would have loved a dyed in the wool Republican but he is head and shoulders better than the alternative. There’s nothing wrong with expressing disappointment though when they do head off in a bad direction.

hawkdriver on July 14, 2010 at 3:16 PM

The Swimmer would have been a YES vote.

jukin on July 14, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I would like to see Scott Brown reach across the aisle, with a cane!!!!

Hening on July 14, 2010 at 3:16 PM

No worries, one of the Maine girls will step up for Harry.

FireBlogger on July 14, 2010 at 3:17 PM

I wonder what you will think if we had Coakley.

At this point, we probably wouldn’t be legally allowed to think.

But I shouldn’t talk……. I’ve got (Sorry) Charlie Crist to deal with here in Flori-duh.

;-)

Cheers !

Kenny Solomon
DISCLOSE ACT this: Molon Labe.

E T Cartman on July 14, 2010 at 3:17 PM

So far, Schumer hasn’t been able to win over Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) orSusan Collins (R-ME), 2 other Dem targets who have supported new campaign finance reforms in the past.

Where is John McCain? Seems like he should be out in front of this effort!

… err, what’s that? election? you sayin John needs to get re-elected first, then he can support stifling free speach? hmmm ….

Freddy on July 14, 2010 at 3:17 PM

This is why I still prefer a Scott Brown to a Martha Coakley Ted Kennedy.

amerpundit on July 14, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Fixed

glennbo on July 14, 2010 at 3:19 PM

pretty sweet.

joeindc44 on July 14, 2010 at 3:19 PM

The problem for Brown and other Republicans is the nakedly political tilt of DISCLOSE. It would limit spending by corporations, but unlike previous campaign finance reform, would allow unions to spend without limit.

First order of business when the House and Senate change is to make ALL union exemptions unlawful. Let them play by the same rules as the private sector. It will be interesting to see how much “real money” the unions are willing to spend in this election cycle when they might be throwing this money down the toilet defending useless policies or politicians heading for the unemployment lines.

Rovin on July 14, 2010 at 3:20 PM

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Schizophrenic? I think you’ve got the wrong mental illness there–you probably meant dissociative identity disorder, or what they used to call “split personality.”

But either way, if there’s any mental imbalance among voters, it’s found in those who expect a candidate to march in lockstep with them on every issue. Brown isn’t perfect. Sometimes he’s right on the money, other times he’s out of step with Conservatives. But he’s probably the best we can hope for from a state like Massachusetts.

Dee2008 on July 14, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Where is John McCain? Seems like he should be out in front of this effort!


Freddy on July 14, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Even McCain can make the right decision, even if the motive is plain self-interest. This law was to take effect withiin 30 days of passage, so it would be in effect for the fall elections. It would have limited the kinds of ads that supporters of McCain (yes, he probably has some) could run in the general election.

This bill was all about shutting out ads by groups that would support a GOP candidate. And they wanted it in place to help stop a GOP takeover of the House and to cut Dem losses in the Senate.

Wethal on July 14, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Dee2008 on July 14, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Much agreed Dee. Just one vote for common sense coming from “Teddy’s seat” is a vote we could have never expected.

Rovin on July 14, 2010 at 3:27 PM

In truth, Congress has no business limiting political speech, as the First Amendment makes specifically clear.

Fascists don’t care about the First Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution.

Tav on July 14, 2010 at 3:28 PM

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Yeah, but the make up sex is great.

NotCoach on July 14, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Still not happy with Brown on the financial overhaul.

Enoxo on July 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM
I agree. Why do the Republicans always have to settle? It is getting old.

mobydutch on July 14, 2010 at 3:29 PM

What a pleasant thing to read!

clnurnberg on July 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM

since McCain-Feingold first floated to the surface. Brown’s opposition is most welcome, and with any luck, DISCLOSE will get flushed out of the Beltway this summer.

hehe Ed ;-)
Beltway = big p0tty

macncheez on July 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM

It’s sad when we have to pray that republican senators do the right thing on free political speech. I am shocked that McCain and Graham and Snowe have not climbed on board this monstros- ity as they have for most of the other democrap poison pill bills. However, I will not praise any of these republicans until the votes are cast. We have learned the hard way that RINOs may talk the talk before a vote, but when the buzzer sounds, suddenly they find something ‘of value’ in the bill that somehow caused them to change their minds and the public is caught holding the bill.

eaglewingz08 on July 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Yep. It always starts off “While the bill is not perfect and it has it’s share of problems, I believe it takes important steps towards achieving… blah blah blah blah

I can’t decide what to do about Mike Castle if he wins the R senate nomination here in DE. He is the KING RINO. He voted for this in the House and cap and trade.

Joe Caps on July 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM

What part of the 1st Amendment does Chuckie Schumer not understand?

GarandFan on July 14, 2010 at 3:34 PM

“… with any luck, DISCLOSE will get flushed out of the Beltway this summer.”

But inside the Beltway is where all the sewage goes in the first place. The Beltway is the ring of the toilet bowl. Let DISCLOSE decompose inside the Beltway. Throw lime on it. That’s where it belongs. (sarc)

JimP on July 14, 2010 at 3:40 PM

NRA sold its soul for nothing?

lorien1973 on July 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Nah. It gained the undying friendship of Harry Reid.

..with that and two slices of bread and a little mayo, you could make a turd sandwich.

The War Planner on July 14, 2010 at 3:43 PM

All of you blasting him need to chill out.

He is walking a tight rope in an überliberal state.

So far he beats Ted Kennedy by a country mile.

rickyricardo on July 14, 2010 at 3:47 PM

All of the people here that were pissed of at Scott Brown for being a typical Mass-uh-chew-sits Republican are going to be patting him on the back for this. I swear to god, a bunch of schizophrenics on the right!

It’s attitudes like this that got us into this pickle to begin with. Only vote for someone like DeMint in every race. Brown is about as good as we can get in his state, that’s reality. I support the most conservative candidate that has a realistic chance of winning in his or her state. Lindsey Graham, McCain, they have no excuse and the voters of SC need to get rid of Graham, AZ voters have no good choice in that race, which is a damn shame. Bob Bennett got what he deserved, as did KBH in her attempt at the governorship here in Texas.

But Scott Brown is about as good as can be hoped for in Massachusetts. I applaud his good votes and swallow bitterly on his bad ones, but I knew going in he wasn’t going to be fabulous. But he’s not Martha Coakley, with whom this wouldn’t be in doubt, plus all the other spending they’ve been able to slow down or stop would already have left the building.

lizzie beth on July 14, 2010 at 3:51 PM

I’ll believe it when the final vote is in and he actually votes no.

angryed on July 14, 2010 at 3:52 PM

The key parts of this headline and post are the words “could” and “may”.

If Brown’s letter is sincere, it sounds like he just wants a couple of fixes to the bill to support it.

Brown does not claim he opposes the bill on Constitutional grounds, which is what you would hope he would do, but because it gives the other side an advantage.

He’ll cave.

Jaynie59 on July 14, 2010 at 3:54 PM

I wish Brown would swap the votes b/c DISCLOSE would be ruled unconstitutional by the SCOUS, you can’t control speech by groups. Further, the FinReg bill is much more damaging with its re-invention of affirmative action, its tracking of all financial transactions, its tax on regional banks and its institutionalization of “too big to fail.” Not to mention its lack of any FANNIE and FREDDIE reform.

That’s the short list. The FinReg bill is over 2000 pages long!

JeffVader on July 14, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Now we need to the the NRA know how we feel about their selling out on this loser bill.

iurockhead on July 14, 2010 at 3:02 PM

About a week ago, my NRA renewal form was sitting on my desk at home, and I was getting ready to fill it out and send it to them with a check for another year.

It has since found its way into the shredder.

That’s my idea of letting them know how I feel.

UltimateBob on July 14, 2010 at 4:13 PM

I will believe it when I see it. No bill is dead with these three, Snowe, Collins and Brown. Snowe and Collins are basically responsible for passing all of Obama’s agenda since he took office. While all Dems voted yea and all Repubs voted no, they switched votes while suffering no penalties.

The Repub leadership is not qualified to lead.

patrick neid on July 14, 2010 at 4:26 PM

The conservatives in Maine have to come up with primary challengers for the Maine girls in 12 and 14. They are lucky their terms are not up this year. We have to get them out.

karenhasfreedom on July 14, 2010 at 4:26 PM

“NRA sold its soul for nothing?”

Very good point, amigo.

Does this mean the NRA still has to honor it support for Harry Reid (who voted for Sotomayor and who will vote for Kagan)?

It’s time for LaPierre to go.

molonlabe28 on July 14, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Geez, gryphon202 — praising a man when he does things you like and criticizing him when he does things you don’t agree with strikes you as insane, how?

S. Weasel on July 14, 2010 at 4:32 PM

“NRA sold its soul for nothing?”

BREAKING:

Scratching sounds heard emanating from Charlton Hestons’ grave. Said the local caretaker: ‘It sounds like ol’ Hickory is tryin’ ta come up outa there or something….”

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 4:40 PM

The Repub leadership is not qualified to lead doesn’t exist.

patrick neid on July 14, 2010 at 4:26 PM

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 4:41 PM

The conservatives in Maine have to come up with primary challengers for the Maine girls in 12 and 14. They are lucky their terms are not up this year. We have to get them out.

karenhasfreedom on July 14, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Snowe already has one in 2012. A state senator, I think.

Wethal on July 14, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Unions should be dismantled

faraway on July 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Agreed! A la Margaret Thatcher!

parteagirl on July 14, 2010 at 4:54 PM

I don’t understand why anyone is surprised with the way Brown votes. We all knew before the election that he was a moderate, but we also knew that a moderate Republican was going to be as good as we could get from Massachussetts. While I wouldn’t vote for him in my state, he beats the heck out of Martha Coakley any day. Brown may be the best that Massachussetts can give us.

desertliving on July 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM

I haven’t heard the fat lady sing, so I won’t proclaim it dead until I smell the corpse.

Extrafishy on July 14, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Yeah, but I think they have Re-Animator working on their staffs-these things seem to be proclaimed dead by the talking heads and then all of a sudden…:

Dr. Carl Hill:[Dr. Hill's head has just *awakened*] Wesssssssssst…
Herbert West:Yes, Doctor, it’s Herbert West. What are you thinking? How do you feel?
Dr. Carl Hill:[wheezing] Youuuuuuuuuu…
Herbert West:[eagerly taking notes] “You…”
Dr. Carl Hill:Bassssstaaaaaarrrrrd!

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM

I don’t understand why anyone is surprised with the way Brown votes. We all knew before the election that he was a moderate, but we also knew that a moderate Republican was going to be as good as we could get from Massachussetts. While I wouldn’t vote for him in my state, he beats the heck out of Martha Coakley any day. Brown may be the best that Massachussetts can give us.

desertliving on July 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM

He is not a moderate. Stop spreading this myth. He is a liberal that happens to have an R next to his name instead of a D.

When one votes 90% with Harry Reid, one is not moderate or anything resembling a moderate.

angryed on July 14, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Geez, gryphon202 — praising a man when he does things you like and criticizing him when he does things you don’t agree with strikes you as insane, how?

S. Weasel on July 14, 2010 at 4:32 PM

It’s not that, Weasel, and you know it. Many on the right spoke of Brown’s win like it was the second coming. I warned many of my conservative buddies not to set up unreasonable expectations for the seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

Then, many of those same people turn around and speak almost as if they wish Martha Coakley would have been the winner instead.

Constructive criticism? Dunno…seems to me like this goes a little bit farther. Let’s bide our time until Scott Brown is up for re-election. Until then, I’m sure the people of Mass-uh-chew-sits will do a fine job of keeping him accountable with Emails and phone calls.

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 5:05 PM

This is why I still prefer a Scott Brown to a Martha Coakley.

amerpundit on July 14, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Truth. Martha Coakley, like Ted Kennedy before her, would have voted yes on ALL of this garbage. Scott Brown beats the alternative, people. He doesn’t need to be the scion of the party, but for Massachusetts, he’s OK. The RINO sisters in Maine, however… Maine’s a touch more to the right as a state than Massachusetts. A touch.

Red Cloud on July 14, 2010 at 5:11 PM

When one votes 90% with Harry Reid, one is not moderate or anything resembling a moderate.

angryed on July 14, 2010 at 5:00 PM

And when one votes 100% with Harry Reid as Coakley would have no-doubt done, one’s liberalism shines with the light of 1,000,000 suns.

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 5:16 PM

You’re right.

hawkdriver on July 14, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Keep it up, Hawk. I never get tired of hearing that. X-D

gryphon202 on July 14, 2010 at 5:18 PM

You can’t look at Scott Brown’s voting record alone. The alone reason things get to the floor is because the Dems are confident they have 60.

A simpleton judges Brown by his votes alone. What people fail to realize is that his mere presence keeps many bills from ever making it to the floor. So while there isn’t a “no” vote, in essence there is.

Also, his delays have stifled their legislative agenda. Without him, health care would have passed in January and financial reform right after.

Things like second stimulus, DISCLOSE, immigration, cap and trade would all be on the docket if Dems had 61 with Coakley.

swamp_yankee on July 14, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has committed to voting against it

Yet he enabled passing financing reform with the reat of the CINOs. He will be bought out later.

percysunshine on July 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM

NRA sold its soul for nothing?

lorien1973 on July 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Not for nothing. They have revealed themselves as being compromised. True, they don’t benefit…but we do. I have already terminated my membership and joined Gun Owners of America.

PakviRoti on July 14, 2010 at 6:17 PM

When one votes 90% with Harry Reid, one is not moderate or anything resembling a moderate.

Care to provide evidence for that 90% statistic?

SunSword on July 14, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Do we have anyone in Maine to annialate the twins from hell?

concernedsenior on July 14, 2010 at 7:51 PM

I knew he would be left of center when he ran. I cheered him then, for his opposition to Obamacare. All the rest of his right votes are gravy.

Slowburn on July 15, 2010 at 1:13 AM

I agree, Scott Brown has to choose his battles. Massachusetts did not turn “Red”. They turned against Martha Coakley because she was a lousy candidate. Scott can become a good Republican senator only if he is re-elected and he has to please the voters enough to secure his seat. A very tight line to walk. Cut him some slack; I am sure he sees the path. Besides, here we go again with the idea that we must all think alike all of the time. Life just isn’t like that; compromise is a big part. Its just picking the right time to do it that counts.

AReadyRepub on July 15, 2010 at 2:56 AM