Senate Democrats unveiled a sweeping plan Thursday that would overhaul the nation’s campaign finance and lobbying laws, and provide election-year messaging for its sponsors.
Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said the measure would repeal the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision, which helped pave the way for big-spending super PACs. It would also permanently ban lobbying by former members of Congress — a prohibition previously championed by Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet , who is up for re-election this year.
“This reform package will shift power away from the special interests, dark money groups and lobbyists with outsized, undue influence, and put it back into the hands of the people we came here to represent,” Bennet said.
Republican leaders are expected to ignore the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has often said the public finds the campaign finance debate about as exciting as static cling. But Sen. Charles E. Schumer , the New Yorker poised to be the Senate’s top Democrat next year, said this time, McConnell will be in for a rude awakening.
“Make no mistake about it: This will be a huge issue in the presidential and in the senatorial and House campaigns,” Schumer said. “And those members who refuse to support proposals like this are going to pay a very significant price. They have not in the past, but this year the electorate is fed up.”
Campaign finance overhaul groups said they supported the effort, which also would require organizations to disclose corporate money to tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups.