Wednesday, May 16, 2012

McCain Meets With Whitehouse, Other Dems On Campaign Finance Reform (DISCLOSE Act) (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) acknowledged today that he has been discussing new campaign finance reform measures with Democratic colleagues.  From Alexander Bolton's report on today, it would appear that this year's DISCLOSE Act (last year's was unsuccessful) is the basis for the discussions on how to manage the flood of outside money from wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions.

Good-government advocates who worked with McCain in the 1990s and early 2000s had begun to think he’d given up on the issue. But McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership.

“I’ve been having discussions with Sen. [Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-R.I.] and a couple others on the issue,” McCain told The Hill.
McCain said he wants to ensure the legislation is balanced to cover labor union activity as well as spending by corporations and rich individuals.
“I want it to be balanced and address the issue of union contributions as well as other outside contributions,” he said.
McCain said the legislation drafted by Democrats does not ensure regulatory parity between corporate and union activity.

Whitehouse reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act this past March and hearings were recently held.  The bill has 43 Democrats who co-sponsored it. 

Whitehouse said he is excited about the prospect of having McCain as an ally.
“He has a really remarkable record of courage and dedication in this area, so it’s a question of working to make sure the technical issues he wants to address and the technical issues that we want to address make a match and we can find something to agree on,” Whitehouse said. “We are beginning those discussions, but they’ve come to no conclusion yet, other than they are going forward amicably.”
A Democratic leadership aide said the bill is stalled without Republican support and said it might or might not reach the floor this year.
McCain’s support would boost its prospects immediately.
“That would change everything,” said the aide. “That would breathe new life into it.”

As discussed on Arizona's Politics most recently on March 30, McCain has been speaking out more and more about the coming scandal(s) that today's anything-goes environment will cause.  Now we know that he gave that interview to NPR at just about the same week that Sen. Whitehouse was filing the new bill and that discussions were likely taking place or about to take place.  (Once we get a better idea of the timeline, we will update.)

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