DISCLOSE Act Delay

Last week, just before the House Rules Committee was set to consider the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), the meeting was cancelled. Now, many are rushing to explain why this happened and what it means for the bill's future. Democratic staff said the delay was because of the need to consider more urgent issues. The Rules committee received 37 amendments. Reportedly, they now hope to consider the bill after the Memorial Day recess.

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"Shadow Congress": 172 Former Lawmakers Now Lobbyists

TPM Muckraker has found that 172 former members of Congress currently work as lobbyists, regarding this system as "the Shadow Congress." TPM notes that "over the last few decades, a vast army of what might be called uber-lobbyists has taken shape in the capital, made up of retiring lawmakers eager to cash in on K Street after a lifetime of making do with public sector salaries."

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House Committee Approves DISCLOSE Act

With a 5-3 vote, the Committee on House Administration approved an amended version of the DISCLOSE Act (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections), H.R. 5175. The committee adopted a manager's amendment offered by Chairman Robert Brady (D-PA), and incorporated additional changes voted on during the meeting.

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Americans United Files IRS Complaint Against L.A. Church for Electioneering Through Social Media

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Oasis Church in Los Angeles. Americans United alleges that the church encouraged visitors to its website and followers on Twitter to support a specific political candidate.

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Committee Holds Second Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The House Administration Committee held its second hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), a bill that would require increased reporting of political campaign spending. House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-PA) said, "The bill does not play political favorites. It applies alike to corporations, labor unions, trade associations and nonprofit advocacy organizations."

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House Administration Committee Holds Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The Committee on House Administration, chaired by Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) held the first hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), and has already announced a second hearing on the bill scheduled for May 11. In his opening statement, Brady said, "The DISCLOSE Act recognizes that American voters are at minimum entitled to full and accurate reporting of campaign spending so that voters may know who is attempting to influence their vote."

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Bill Would Ban Lawmakers from Becoming Lobbyists, Forever

Last week Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Close the Revolving Door Act of 2010, (S. 3272), which would permanently ban Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after leaving office. The measure would also increase the "cooling off" period for congressional staff from lobbying their former bosses and Committees from one year to six years. Lobbyists would be prohibited from joining congressional staffs that they lobbied for six years.

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After Much Delay, the DISCLOSE Act is Introduced

In front of the Supreme Court, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation meant to diminish the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The much anticipated bill is titled as expected, the DISCLOSE Act, which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections. Four Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Al Franken (D-MN).

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More Citizens are Using the Internet to Engage with Government

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project released a new report which found that most Internet users have visited a government website to get information or complete a transaction during the last year. The findings are based on a survey of 2,258 adults 18 or older. According to the report, about a quarter of adults have posted their own comments online about government issues, participated in an online town hall meeting or joined a group that tries to influence policies.

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Supreme Court Denies Review in Challenge to FEC Rules

The Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case originating from the 2008 presidential election, challenging Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure rules. A 527 organization, the Real Truth About Obama (RTAO), wanted to sponsor ads covering President Obama's record on abortion and other issues. After the group lost their appeal of a federal district court decision, RTAO requested the Supreme Court to review the case.

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