DISCLOSE Act Delayed Again

Facing trouble from all sides, House Democrats again decided to delay consideration of the DISCLOSE act. As the Washington Post describes, "One of President Obama’s top legislative priorities is in serious doubt after top House Democrats’ attempt to satisfy the National Rifle Association backfired badly. Top Democrats abandoned plans for a Friday vote in the House on the legislation, known as the Disclose Act, after liberal groups and members of the Congressional Black Caucus rose up against the deal with the NRA. A lobbying blitz by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups also undermined support for the legislation, aides said."

A House Rules Committee meeting was scheduled to meet to consider the bill, but it was again postponed. After broad opposition continued to grow over the exemption for large 501(c)(4) groups, reportedly changes were once again made for the exemption to cover more groups by lowering the threshold for those with 500,000 members.

Therefore, organizations with 500,000 members, down from one million, would avoid top donor disclosure provisions, as long as the group has members in all 50 states, existed for 10 years and accepts no more than 15 percent of their funding from corporate or union sources.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, (D-AZ) and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), co-leaders of the Congressional Progessive Caucus, wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressing their concerns. Their letter also called for a vote on the Shareholder Protection Act, (H.R. 4790), as "one of the best ways to stanch the flow of corporate money into election activities."

Meanwhile, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) have both expressed disapproval of the bill with these changes. According to RollCall ($$), Lautenberg said, "It is the height of irony that Congress is considering special treatment for the NRA in a bill designed to limit the role of special interests in Washington."

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