Sen. Brown pressed on campaign finance bill

Watchdog groups are calling on Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to support a sweeping campaign-finance bill and oppose any GOP effort to filibuster it.


The Senate as early as this week is expected to consider the Disclose Act, a measure aimed at blunting the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling earlier this year, which lifted restrictions on corporate and union funding of political advertisements.

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Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Public Citizen and the League of Women Voters sent a letter to Brown’s office Monday reminding the senator of his promise after his election to “restore the real checks and balances in Washington” and bring accountability and transparency to government.

“Your vote on the Disclose Act will be a vote on the most important government integrity reform measure to be considered thus far by the Senate in this Congress,” the groups wrote to Brown. “This critical ‘accountability and transparency’ legislation deserves your support. Any effort to filibuster the Disclose Act deserves your opposition.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, had tried to convince Brown to sign on as a co-sponsor of the measure, but he refused. That left Democrats without any Republican co-sponsors for the measure in the Senate.

An editorial in Monday’s New York Times urged Brown, as well as Maine GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, to vote in favor of the bill and oppose an expected filibuster by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Senate Democrats are leaning on Brown to support a number of their priorities in the final weeks before the August congressional recess. Brown, who was elected in January to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), announced Monday he would vote in favor of a bill imposing new Wall Street regulations, moving Democrats one vote closer to the 60 they need to reach cloture on the measure.

House Democratic leaders in late June overcame opposition from Republicans and within their own ranks to push through the Disclose Act on a 219-206 vote.

House and Senate Democratic leaders had hoped to get the bill to the president’s desk by the July 4 recess in order to affect the busy late-summer and early-fall election season. With stiff Senate Republican opposition to the measure and a loaded July legislative calendar, time is now running out on the Senate calendar to pass the bill.