The House passed campaign finance legislation known as the Disclose Act Thursday, despite controversy last week over the bill's exempting some large organizations like the National Rifle Association. [See who gets the most from gun rights groups.]
After a January Supreme Court decision allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money sponsoring campaign ads, Democrats crafted legislation in both chambers that would require stricter methods of campaign finance disclosure.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen led the House version of the bill, which requires special interest group officials to physically appear at the end of campaign ads they sponsor, acknowledging who contributes to their campaign fund, and to disclose their campaign related expenditures on their websites.
It also prohibits foreign controlled corporations from contributing to political campaigns.
The bill has come under fire recently for carve-outs. In response to pressure from the NRA, House Democrats made an amendment last week to exempt organizations that have over 1 million members, have been in existence for at least a decade, and receive less than 15 percent of their funding from corporations.
House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement, "This bill would muzzle small businesses but protect labor unions…This is a backroom deal to shred our Constitution for raw, ugly, partisan gain."
The Chamber of Commerce, which has been avidly opposing the legislation, said the "Democratic majority in the House has jammed through a piece of legislation that clearly violates the Constitution, as well as basic principles of fairness and equity."
Other groups, like the Campaign Legal Center have been urging the bill to be passed, despite the NRA exemptions. The CLC's Policy Director Meredith McGehee said, "The Disclose Act, while not perfect, is a clear improvement over current law which was left in tatters by the recent decision of the Roberts Court."