Chamber looks to push back with ad knocking Disclose Act

The Chamber of Commerce is looking this week to push back against Democratic-led efforts to move forward with a new campaign finance bill.

The business group took out ads to run throughout Washington this week in opposition to the Disclose Act, a bill favored by most Democrats and some Republicans to counteract the effects of a Supreme Court decision freeing up corporate and labor spending in elections.

The ad includes the text of the First Amendment with the section guaranteeing freedom of speech struck out — a reference to the Chamber's argument that the new bill would limit political speech.

"Congress, discriminating against America's job creators will corrupt our democracy," the ad says. "America was founded on fairness and equality, not censorship and political expediency. Vote no on the Disclose Act."

The ad is meant to provide a counterattack against a push by Democrats to move forward on the legislation, which stalled last week in the House and was pulled from the floor.

Democrats have marshaled support from government watchdogs and President Barack Obama's pollster in support of the legislation, and the White House itself backed the legislation on Monday despite exemptions from certain new rules under the legislation for groups like the National Rifle Association.

A Chamber spokeswoman charged that the bill would unfairly punish business, while "labor unions and some of the largest special interest groups in Washington get a pass."

“This special interest funded ad is exactly the reason we need the Disclose Act. The Chamber should step forward and disclose who funded this piece. What do they have to hide?" said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Assistant to the Speaker Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the main proponent of the bill in the House.

"Let’s be clear, the Disclose Act does nothing to limit free speech," Thornell added. "It empowers the American people so they know who is spending money on our elections. It’s a tough reform bill and that’s why so many special interests hate it.”

Updated 5:26 p.m.

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