Campaign Finance Reform Breakthrough: NRA & Dems Unite Against Chamber

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


House Democrats today reached a deal with the National Rifle Association that would roll back parts of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the widely disdained legal precedent that opened the floodgates to corporate-funded political ads. The Dems’ deal would require groups like the US Chamber of Commerce to disclose the top funders of their political ads, but would create loopholes for the NRA and other membership groups.

The deal falls short of what campaign finance watchdogs wanted, but would probably be a net gain for Democrats. According to Politico:

The new agreement would exempt organizations that have over one million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states, and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations, from the disclosure requirements.

That complicated loophole would probably exempt many (see below) not include unions, but neither would it exempt their better-funded foes, groups such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the US Chamber of Commerce, which consistently ranks as Washington’s largest single political donor. Indeed, the Chamber would be doubly excluded under the proposed bill: First, it clearly gets most of its funds from corporations. And second, it has fewer than one million members, as I was able to establish in a series of stories published earlier this year.

The deal with the NRA smoothes the road for the bill’s passage in the House, where pro-gun Democrats had feared pissing off the powerful group. But it would still face hurdles in the Senate, where it could face major procedural roadblocks from Republicans.

UPDATE: Today the SEIU confirmed to Mother Jones‘ Suzy Khimm that unions will not be exempted from the bill’s disclosure requirement.

WE'LL BE BLUNT:

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't find elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

payment methods

WE'LL BE BLUNT

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate