House Democrats on Thursday narrowly eked out a majority for a campaign finance reform package tightening rules on political spending by outside groups. The bill, called the DISCLOSE Act, passed 219-206 after Democratic leaders managed to convert enough holdout liberal lawmakers concerned with an exemption tailored for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Thirty-six Democrats voted against the package, and only two Republicans backed it.
The legislation is an effort to limit the impact of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in January in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which held that corporations have the same free-speech rights as individuals and can spend corporate treasury funds on political campaigns.
Democratic leaders have made the package a priority as the midterm elections near, believing that the controversial Supreme Court decision lifting limits on outside spending would lead to a flood of hostile corporate money against the party. But its path forward in the Senate remains unclear, with Republican leaders in that chamber rallying opposition and some Democrats objecting to the NRA carve-out.
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