Another bill passes the House which provides great insight in the worldview of Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats. The short version, via Glenn Reynolds, “Dem Congressman: We Must Have Campaign Finance Disclosure To Stop Republicans From Getting Elected.”
Overcoming opposition from within their own ranks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic House leaders pushed through a controversial campaign finance reform bill Thursday on a 219-206 vote.
The DISCLOSE — Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Election — Act will require corporations, labor unions, trade associations and advocacy groups to publicly declare their role in TV ads or mass mailings during the closing months of a political campaign, including where the money is coming from to pay for such activities. Foreign-controlled corporations and big government contractors would also be barred from paying for such political activities.
But the House bill exempts the National Rifle Association, unions and other special interests from all or part of the legislation, which Republicans charged was the product of “backroom deals” and Democrats said was necessary to get the bill passed.
Emphasis added. So, Democrats are exempting special interests just to get this thing passed? Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? Unless of course, the purpose was not disclosure but, as per the Democrat referenced above, preventing Republicans from getting elected.
As the editorialists at the Washington Examiner point out, noting that “DISCLOSE was rammed through the House after being introduced with only a few hours’ notice and too little debate allowed“:
The bill is full of draconian restrictions on individual political speech expressed via corporations, but gives privileged status to the Democrats’ union masters. A provision pushed by Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Bob Brady, for example, allows unions to transfer unlimited funds among affiliated groups to pay for political ads with no disclosure whatever. That makes campaign funding more transparent?
Unions, as Mark Hemingway notes in a companion piece on the Examiner, get privileged status under the bill:
unions now get nearly unrestricted, undisclosed political spending. Further, the restrictions in the DISCLOSE Act only cut one way — against business. If you took TARP funds as a business, express political advocacy is now verboten. So GM has very limited first amendment rights, but even though arguably the primary beneficiary of the auto bailout was the United Auto Workers union which got government garunteed billions directly as a result of the TARP funding — UAW can spend almost whatever it pleases, and it has a history of spending millions on Democratic campaigns.
Further, under the DISCLOSE Act if a company has more than $7 million in government contracts, it has no right to political speech. But public sector unions can spend millions of recycled tax dollars campaigning for Democrats, no problem.
Read the whole thing. This isn’t about free speech, but about curtailing the speech of institutions more likely to support the GOP. Seems the Democrats think that their best strategy to remain in power is to curtail the speech of those who oppose their agenda.
Barack Obama may have railed against special interests in his presidential campaign (and still today), but his party leaders in the house are bound and determine to protect those special interests who help them the most.