With McCain's opposition, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was unable to get any Republicans to support the Act, and the GOP has successfully filibustered it. The vote yesterday to proceed to an up or down vote on the bill failed 51-44, with no Republicans joining colleagues across the aisle to reach the needed 60 votes.
McCain said the bill allows organized labor "to fly below the Federal Election Commission's regulatory radar." As support, he noted that "unions spend millions of dollars yearly paying teams of political hands to contact members, educating them about election issues and trying to make sure they vote for union-endorsed candidates." The WSJ analysis added those millions and other monies spent buying bratwursts for members, etc., and determined that unions are a strong counterweight against super PACs.
Whitehouse then praised McCain's history on the issue of campaign finance reform, but disputed today's position. Whitehouse notes that former Republican Senators found the current bill's version is fair on its face (McCain also stated that), that he had adjusted the disclosure triggers upward to answer complaints by the National Rifle Association (McCain stated it was to benefit the unions), and that neither McCain nor other Republicans had proposed any amendments.
As noted in May, McCain had been meeting with Whitehouse on trying to come up with a bill that he (and, presumably, other Republicans) could support. At the time, he told The Hill that "I want it to be balanced and address the issue of union contributions as well as other outside contributions."
Arizona's Politics live-Tweeted McCain's speech this morning, and then - after the Senator Tweeted that he had posted the text of the speech - Tweeted a series of questions to McCain:
1) So, were previous reports on your meetings w/ Sen Whitehouse incorrect, or did discussions just break down over unions?
2) Were you still in Chamber when Sen Whitehouse complimented you afterwards, and talked about compromises made?
3) Any new talks w/ Sen Whitehouse today about revisions, or is it done for the year?
4) Finally, any comment on news re: Cardon family bankrolling Super PAC attacking Rep. Flake? http://bit.ly/AZp275
The Senator has not yet addressed those questions, but we will update when he does.
Transcript of McCain's Speech, provided by the Senator's office, is below the jump:
FLOOR STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON THE DISCLOSE ACT
July 17, 2012
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