House Democrats received talking points Thursday to help them sell a pending bill to restrict campaign spending by corporations ahead of what’s expected to be a legislative fight with business groups.
The document, circulated by the Democratic leadership and obtained by the Ballot Box, warns of "big money interests" being able to "drown out the voices of average Americans."
"The most important thing we can do in response to this ruling is ensure transparency and allow people to follow the money that is influencing elections and politicians in Washington,” it states.
Next week Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is expected to introduce the DISCLOSE Act, a direct response to the Supreme Court’s January ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, which lifted spending restrictions by corporations and labor unions in elections.
A summary of the bill was circulated in the Capitol, and on Friday business groups warned Democrats to expect a fight if they try to push it through.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it would “fight any and all attempts to muzzle and or demonize independent voices from the election discussion.”
“It is no secret that Mr. Van Hollen’s campaign committee faces significant losses in the House this fall, and nothing in this ill-conceived and one-sided piece of legislation would change that,” Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “We believe it is the American people who should choose their congressional representatives, not partisan campaign operatives posing as legislators.”
A spokesman for Van Hollen’s office called the Chamber’s response a “temper tantrum.”
"It's not really surprising that powerful special interests based in Washington would be throwing temper tantrums over efforts to curb their influence and increase transparency so the American people know who is spending money on our elections,” said Doug Thornell, a Van Hollen spokesman.
Van Hollen’s office also noted that despite the harshly worded statement from the national affiliate, the Democrat was named “legislator of 2009” by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.