DISCLOSE Act, Born to Die

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 17 2012 9:36 AM

DISCLOSE Act, Born to Die

The only new or interesting thing about yesterday's DISCLOSE Act vote was dug up beforehand by Dan Froomkin.

On 2000, Senate Republicans joined Democrats in overwhelmingly passing a bill92 to 6, that required a growing number of secretive tax-exempt groups to reveal their donors and spending... Of today's Republican senators, 14 were there in 2000 and voted in favor of disclosure.

Yes, let's not forget that total disclosure, with few or no limits, used to be the automatic Republican position on campaign finance reform. One of the 14 flippers yesterday was Sen. John McCain, whose road-back-from-Damascus story says it all. There's a massive oversupply of McCain quotes from the late 1990s to last month denouncing the campaign finance regime. "I think there will be scandals associated with the worst decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st century," McCain said in June on Meet the Press. “Uninformed, arrogant, naive."

Why wouldn't McCain break ranks yesterday? Because nobody's going to make a sudden move and hand the other party a victory this close to an election. If I sound cynical, it's because the Democrats held a DISCLOSE vote before they even tried to hold a vote on the president's preferred version of tax cut extensions (keeping every current rate except the ones hitting the $250,000 and above brackets). McCain had previously talked about disclosure in a "pox on both houses" kind of way -- we've got billionaires, they've got unions -- but we're in a fairly new climate where "disclosure" means "shaming mega-rich donors." That's something correctly seen as a populist Democratic attack on the GOP. So the bipartisan space you used to have for CFR has eroded, and even John McCain won't stand in it.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 8:15 AM Ted Cruz Will Not Join a Protest of "The Death of Klinghoffer" After All
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 9:03 AM My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.