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U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Bruce Josten predicts theres little chance that a Democratic-backed campaign finance bill, which his group opposes, will reach President Barack Obamas desk this year.
They clearly lack the necessary votes in the Senate, Josten said Tuesday morning. For most Senators, this is a problematic piece of legislation on both sides of the aisle.
Despite that confidence, Jostens organization will continue its attack on the measure.
Speaking to reporters at the chambers downtown headquarters, Josten sketched out the organizations ongoing assault against the DISCLOSE Act, legislation designed to blunt the Supreme Courts recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
In its 5-4 ruling in January, the high court threw out most restrictions on political advertising paid for by corporations, trade associations and other nonprofit organizations.
While Josten said the DISCLOSE bill may pass the House, he predicted that it will wither in the Senate. He said the motivations of the bills primary authors, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and ex-Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), are clearly aimed at the chamber and other Republican-leaning organizations that invest heavily in political spending.
The bill places onerous restrictions on corporate free speech, violating the First Amendment, and ... ignores completely the immense political influence of organized labor, he said.
Josten added: The purpose here, it seems to us, is to hobble associations that give a voice to their members views in the political process and in the policymaking process. ... It appears to be an attempt to fix election rules to give organized labor and Democratic incumbents particularly the upper hand.
And perhaps offering a glimpse at how hes selling the chambers opposition to the bill, Josten compared the DISCLOSE Act to another contentious piece of legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act. The chambers primary legislative villain of the 2008 elections, the pro-union card check bill has been relegated to the Congressional back burner since the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) ended the Democrats filibuster-proof majority earlier this year.
To us, this is very similar to card check, Josten said. Its not lost on the business community that this is changing the rules in the middle of the game to clearly benefit one side and to clearly disadvantage one sides voice.
Freshmen in the Green
Vulnerable House Democratic freshmen are making the most of their ties to the financial sector, a new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington claims.
According to the CREW study provided to K Street Files, freshman Democratic Reps. Alan Grayson (Fla.), Jim Himes (Conn.), John Adler (N.J.) and Gary Peters (Mich.) and their fellow Financial Services Committee freshmen outraised their other underclassman colleagues by 55 percent.
According to CREWs research, Financial Services freshmen raised an average of $140,000 from the political action committees of investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms. In contrast, freshmen who did not sit on the panel brought in roughly $25,000 from industry PACs, the groups research discovered.