- Category: News
In a mostly symbolic vote that split along party lines, the Senate on Monday night blocked consideration of a Democratic-sponsored bill to force disclosure of contributions to tax-exempt groups, corporations and unions which engage in political spending.
The bill fell nine votes short of the 60 it needed to move ahead to debate and final passage.
Donors to tax-exempt 501c4 and 501c6 groups aren’t required to be identified publicly; this cloak of secrecy has encouraged some contributors who might fear publicity to invest heavily in trying to influence voters through TV ads.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D- R.I., would require any donor who gave $10,000 or more to a 501c4 group that spent money on political advertising to be identified and disclosed. [Video after the jump]
It would not have taken effect until after the 2012 election. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D - Ore., a co-sponsor of the bill said in an interview right before the vote, “We did that deliberately to take this campaign season out of it. We tried to take every objection we heard and strip this down to pure disclosure: any donation over $10,000, you disclose, straight and simple, no matter where it comes from.”