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DISCLOSE Act advocates float GOP senators who might help their cause

My article on the DISCLOSE Act today mentions that Democrats are hoping, yet hardly confident, that a stripped-down version of the bill might do the trick and attract at least two Republican votes in the lame-duck session of Congress set to resume next week. The Hill, it turns out, has a similar story with a slightly more optimistic bent. It mentions Senator-elect Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — as I do — as one possible backer, but it also mentions Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), fresh off her write-in bid in Alaska, as another:

Kirk could have more support in a Senate lame-duck from other Republicans fed up with the aggressive, undisclosed outside spending that took place in their own campaigns. After losing the GOP primary to Tea Party-backed Jeff Miller [sic], Murkowski launched a write-in candidacy to retain her seat. But she was pummeled early on by spending from independent outside groups, most notably the Tea Party Express and the Senate Conservatives Fund backed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).?? [...] A spokesman for Murkowski late last week said his boss was traveling and could not be reached for comment.

Other centrists who witnessed the stinging primary defeats of likeminded congressional colleagues by Tea Party-backed candidates — candidates who went on to lose in the general election — may also decide to join forces and vote in favor of the Disclose Act. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is up for re-election in 2012 and will no doubt attract a primary challenge from a more conservative candidate.

As nice as it sounds, I see a couple of problems with the logic behind this speculation. First, Tea Party Express, the group that gave Murkowski so much trouble in her primary against Joe Miller, is a federally registered PAC that already discloses its donors, so it’s not the kind of group that would be affected by the DISCLOSE Act.

Second, the prospect of a Tea Party primary challenge — something the Hill is right to note that Olympia Snowe might very well face in 2012 — doesn’t seem like much of an incentive for the senator to cross the aisle and work with Democrats. Examples of that sort of bipartisanship is the entire reason that Tea Party groups will likely challenge Snowe, so while the senator still might have her reasons to vote for the DISCLOSE Act, a possible primary challenge hardly seems like one of them.

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