Monday, June 21, 2010

Efforts to curb special interests in elections fizzle

Efforts to curb special interests in elections fizzle
June 21, 2010 Byline: Fredreka Schouten USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - A high-profile effort by President Obama and top Democrats to clamp down on special ­interest spending in elections has faltered, nearly six months after a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for unlimited corporate and union spending on independent campaign ads.

Action on a bill in Congress that aims to shine more light on such spending stalled after top House Democrats agreed to exempt the powerful National Rifle Association and other large non-profits, such as the Humane Society of the United States and AARP from new disclosure rules. Organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Club complained, and the bill was pulled from the House floor in recent days.

"All restriction on political speech is repugnant," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the gun owners' group, told USA TODAY.

"Am I happy that the NRA's tongue is not cut for the 2010 ... elections? Absolutely," he said. "Do we still think this bill is unconstitutional? Absolutely."

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