Schumer's Campaign Finance Bill Restricts Corporations But is Easy on Unions

Two weeks ago Chuck Schumer stood on the steps of the Supreme Court building to announce a fight against the first amendment, the “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act” the DISCLOSE act. DISCLOSE “Get it?” asked Schumer when he announced the bill. Oh we got it, this is another progressive attempt at silencing Corporations while allowing labor unions to do just about whatever they want.

The legislation is being introduced in both the House and Senate as a response to the 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court declared unconstitutional, certain restrictions corporate and labor restrictions against participating in political campaigns. Schumer’s bill as it now stands reimposes many of those restrictions, but mostly against Corporations and Labor(Full Text of Bill Below).

The decision of the court angered the Unions, in a statement after the Supreme Court’s decision in January, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the court went too far in its ruling.

“We believe the Court wrongly treated corporate expenditures the same as union expenditures, contrary to the arguments we made in our brief in this case,” Trumka said in a statement. “Unions, unlike businesses, are democratically-controlled, non-profit membership organizations representing working men and women across the country, and their independent speech should accordingly be given greater protection.”

I guess Trumka never heard of stockholder meetings. But he should be very happy with the bill as it now stands.

The bill begins with a long winded preface about the reasons for the bill. It talks about the “evil” supreme court decision:

That decision has opened the floodgates for corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited sums from their general treasury accounts to influence the outcome of elections.

After that initial mention, Unions are mentioned only two more times in the entire 98 page bill, corporations are mentioned 17 times as most of the restrictions are directed toward Corporations, Lobbyists and Contractors.The Hill quoting Loyola Law School election law professor Richard L. Hasen, Big Labor may receive a free pass in the bill:

“Hasen said some of the biggest campaign spending restrictions in the summary would only affect corporations. For example, large federal contractors, recipients of government bailout funds who have not repaid the money and foreign-owned companies would be banned from election spending.

Hansen also says that many of the restrictions such as those put on foreign corporations would naturally only  restrict corporations since there are no foreign based unions operating here. But in the end, Hansen says the bill as it now stands is not balanced, but might get there in the end.

The document seems to have be done “for PR purposes” by focusing on corporations, which poll terribly in the Citizens United debate, Hasen said. “It is politically popular to beat up on corporations. But I bet when we see the actual bill, I bet it will be pretty even-handed,” Hasen said.

The latest version of the bill is below