DISCLOSE Act to emerge from the shadows

According to media reports, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Chuck Schumer will finally unveil their bill of campaign finance restrictions today. Stick with the Center for Competitive Politics’ blog for comprehensive analysis of the bill throughout the day.

Politico reports that Van Hollen has persuaded one more Republican, Rep. Walter Jones, to sponsor the DISCLOSE Act, which would subvert the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: “The goal is partly to discourage the types of previously prohibited spending legalized when the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled in favor of the conservative non-profit group Citizens United, which had argued that its free speech rights were impinged by decades of law restricting political spending by corporations, unions and other organizations.”

The addition of Jones is no surprise as he—along with previously announced Republican co-sponsor Rep. Mike Castle—is one of just three Republicans co-sponsoring a bill to provide congressional candidates with taxpayer financing for their campaigns. Castle and Jones are the only two Republicans so far supporting the bill—21 Republicans still serving in Congress voted for McCain-Feingold in 2002.

Eric Brown of the must-read blog Political Activity Law reports details of spectacle of a Senate press conference on the DISCLOSE Act:

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

Thursday at 10 am: SCHUMER, FEINGOLD, WYDEN, BAYH TO UNVEIL SENATE BILL THAT CONFRONTS SUPREME COURT RULING ALLOWING UNLIMITED POLITICAL SPENDING BY SPECIAL INTERESTS—WILL ANNOUNCE PLAN TO PASS MEASURE BY JULY 4

Senators Have Worked With House Lawmakers, Led By Rep. Van Hollen, To Craft Bicameral Legislation

Bill Would Ban Foreign-Controlled Corporations, Government Contractors from Making Political Expenditures; Also Require Company CEOs To Appear On Camera In Any Ads Paid For With Special-Interest Funds

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) will hold a news conference TOMORROW, April 29, 2010, at 10 a.m. in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to unveil legislation to mitigate the negative impacts of the Court’s decision that allowed unlimited spending on elections by special interests. The lawmakers will announce plans to pass the measure in the U.S. Senate by July 4 of this year.

The Court, in its ruling in the Citizens United case in January, overturned a decades-old law banning political expenditures by corporate interests. The Senate legislation to be introduced Thursday would partly restore those limits—by barring foreign-controlled corporations, government contractors, and TARP recipients from making political expenditures—and also require corporations, unions, and other organizations that make political expenditures to disclose their donors and stand by their ads.

The senators have spent the last several months crafting the bill alongside their counterparts in the U.S. House, led by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

WHAT: Senators Schumer, Feingold, Wyden, Bayh Unveil ‘Citizens United’ Legislation; Will Announce Plans To Pass Bill By July 4

DATE: Thursday, April 29, 2010

TIME: 10:00 AM

PLACE: Plaza in front of U.S. Supreme Court Building, One First Street NE.