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DISCLOSE Act is Not Dead Yet

I wrote before the recess that it appeared likely that the DISCLOSE Act wasn’t dead yet, but now it’s official: Senate Dems plan to bring it up for another vote when Congress resumes next month.

As always, the usual GOP suspects are being singled out in hopes that they’ll lend the single vote necessary to invoke cloture, but this time advocates say they have an additional card to play:

Senate Dems and their reform-advocate allies are targeting Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA),Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME), all of whom voted against cloture last month. The 3 GOPers said the bill was rushed in an attempt to influence the ’10 midterms on Dems’ behalf.

Now, though, reform advocates believe they have removed that most significant objection all 3 GOPers had. If the measure is passed in late Sept. or early Oct., it would not go into effect until after the midterms.

The negotiation that we hope will be able to break the filibuster is the mere fact that this will no longer apply to the 2010 elections,” said Craig Holman, a top lobbyist at Public Citizen, which backs the bill. “It will only apply to 2012 and beyond, and we hope that will be enough to make Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown vote to end the filibuster.”

While it’s true that Sens. Brown, Snowe, and Collins all bemoaned the rushed nature of the process towards a vote in July and accused Democrats of trying to tilt the playing field before the 2010 elections, taking 2010 out of the picture won’t necessarily make them into willing converts.

They still have pressure from GOP leadership to contend with and the bill’s carve outs for large nonprofit groups like the National Rifle Association that they can point to if they want to find additional reasons not to like DISCLOSE. The one thing that might actually convince Brown or one of the Maine senators to vote for the bill, however, is if they determine it’ll simply be too politically costly back in their home states to keep coming out on the other side of the politically popular idea of disclosure.

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