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Democrats renew bid to require big campaign donors to disclose

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Since Citizens United, Democrats have sought to force disclosure of donors, including those giving to politically active nonprofit groups. Super PACs and nonprofits spent $204 million to influence the 2010 campaign cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission. The DISCLOSE Act is a diluted version of a 2010 bill that pinned the disclosure threshold at $600 and fell one vote short of overcoming a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

The initiative, which advocates say has garnered bipartisan – if private – support, is likely to face an uphill battle in the Senate, as Republicans have pledged a filibuster to thwart its progress. Among its staunchest opponents is Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who has repeatedly cast disclosure laws as infringements upon First Amendment rights to free speech. Mr. McConnell led the lawsuit that succeeded in rolling back key features of the the 2002 campaign finance law, known as McCain-Feingold.

DISCLOSE and other similar measures are “nothing less than an effort by the government itself to exposes its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies,” McConnell said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on June 15. “And that should concern every one of us.”

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