DISCLOSE: Don’t Limit Advocacy, Just Be a Better Advocate!

The Senate has scheduled a cloture vote on a motion to proceed to S. 3628, the DISCLOSE Act, at 2:15 p.m. (Procedural details.) You’ll remember that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid voted no the last time the Senate debated cloture on the bill, which allows him to make a motion to reconsider it.

Jacob Sullum at Reason has a good column on the politics of the issue, “Ad Rage,” challenging the latest line of partisan argument that corporate campaign spending has already overwhelmed the public debate this election season. Sullum concludes by referring to President Obama’s last weekly address, in which the President choose to condemn campaign advertising rather than issues the public considers more pressing, that is, the economy and jobs.

Toward the end of his speech on Saturday, Obama accidentally told the truth. “You can make sure that the tens of millions of dollars spent on misleading ads do not drown out your voice,” he said. “Because no matter how many ads they run—no matter how many elections they try to buy—the power to determine the fate of this country doesn’t lie in their hands. It lies in yours.”

Exactly right, Mr. President. No matter how shadowy or flush with corporate dollars an interest group is, the only thing Citizens United allowed it to do is speak. Advocacy has no impact unless it persuades people. So why not talk about the issues instead of impugning the motives of people who take a different position on them than you do?

In July, the National Association of Manufacturers sent a “Key Vote” letter to the Senate opposing S. 3628, the DISCLOSE Act, and related procedural votes.

The AFL-CIO also sent a letter to the Senate opposing S. 3628, but the union seems to have fallen silent on the issue since then. No recent blog posts, at least.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Bruce Josten issued a statement on Saturday responding to the President’s address and opposing the DISCLOSE Act.

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