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Chamber begins campaign against finance reform bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched an advertising effort against the campaign finance reform legislation Democrats hope to send out of the House this week.

The print ad argues the Disclose Act will limit business groups’ free-speech rights while giving labor unions a pass.

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“America was founded on fairness and equality, not censorship and political expediency. Vote no on the Disclose Act,” the ad says.

The Disclose Act would require corporations and unions to release information about donor for their campaign ads. Union officials and Democratic aides insist labor groups would not be treated any differently than other groups by the Disclose Act.

Unions have remained neutral on the bill.

A Chamber spokeswoman said the business association is spending tens of thousands of dollars on the campaign, but could not provide a final cost figure because of the uncertainty over when the House will vote.

A spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), one of the bill’s authors, told The Hill the Chamber’s ad is why the Disclose Act should 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? Let’s be clear: The Disclose Act does nothing to limit free speech,” said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Van Hollen.