U.S. Senate to vote this year on campaign finance amendment: Schumer

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:27am EDT

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leaves after a Senate cloture vote on budget bill on Capitol Hill in Washington December 17, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leaves after a Senate cloture vote on budget bill on Capitol Hill in Washington December 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate will vote this year on a proposed constitutional amendment that would let states and Congress regulate campaign finance laws, Senator Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday.

The New York Democrat made the announcement weeks after a ruling on April 2 by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down aggregate campaign donation limits, a decision that could allow wealthy individuals to contribute even more to candidates and party committees.

The proposed constitutional amendment, written by New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall, would empower Congress to regulate federal election spending and outside groups, and give states the chance to dictate their own internal campaign finance rules.

"The First Amendment is sacred, but the First Amendment is not absolute. By making it absolute, you make it less sacred to most Americans. We have to bring some balance to our political system," Schumer said at a Senate Rules Committee hearing that also featured testimony from former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Democrats generally decry the injection of large sums of money into politics, particularly since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, which opened the door to so-called super PACs.

The proposed amendment is unlikely to pass the Senate in the highly partisan environment in the run-up to congressional elections in November. It would need 67 votes to pass and Republicans have generally supported loosening campaign finance restrictions, but it could give Democrats an opportunity to paint their rivals as opposing important reforms.

While Democrats have embraced high-profile donors of their own, they have made opposition to Republicans' reliance on billionaires such as Charles and David Koch a central plank of their election strategy.

(This story corrects the second paragraph to say party committees instead of political action committees)

(Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Grant McCool)

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Comments (8)
rlm328 wrote:
While crying foul about unregulated campaign spending I think it is a little bit missplaced, I believe President Obama was the first presidential candidate in the modern era to turn down matching funds from the gov’t so that his campaign could spend as much as they wanted. When the Democrats were able to out spent the Republicans with unregualetd union money, it was the Republicans calling foul.

A pox on both their houses. Either party is for sale to the highest bidder. It is time term limits were invoked to keep these leeches from draining the citizens of this country to pay off their benefactors.

Apr 30, 2014 12:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
unionwv wrote:
Posturing – Schumer and the rest of the collectivists are good at that.

Schumer knows the House will not concur, and rightly so:

“… when people were asked whether they thought it was more important to have Democrats in charge in Congress to help support Obama’s policies or Republicans in charge to act as a check on the president’s policies. On this, 53 percent of voters say Republicans and 39 percent say Democrats. That is almost identical to the results of the same question when it was asked in September 2010, two months before the GOP landslide.”


Apr 30, 2014 1:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:
If it is anything like McCain’s campaign finance reform bill it will be a bill that gives further advantages to incumbants on election day. Don’t be fooled.

Apr 30, 2014 2:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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