chuck schumer

Business chief slams campaign finance law

By Kara Rowland, The Washington Times

The head of the nation’s biggest business lobby on Friday warned lawmakers that if they vote for a campaign-finance bill it would be “at their peril.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue decried the Democratic-sponsored measure, which imposes stiff disclosure requirements on groups that run campaign ads funded by corporations and unions, as an overt effort to “basically cut a number of people out of the political process” ahead of this fall’s midterm elections. Mr. Donohue also said there was a lack of people working in the Obama White House who understood the business world.

This is a very simple deal,” Mr. Donohue told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “These guys looked at the polls and they’re trying to figure out a way to cut us and others out of the election — it won’t happen.”

Sponsors of the Disclose Act, authored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, say the bill is necessary to correct a recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban blocking corporations and unions from using their own treasuries to run political ads in election campaigns.

Mr. Donohue and other opponents of the legislation say the bill would infringe on free speech and curb political participation.

“This is so transparent. It is so patently political,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about disclosure and change the rules … we ought not to do it and try and cram it in two months, three months before the election season starts just for the convenience of people that are worried about losing.”

The Chamber, which counts more than 3 million members, warned members of the House earlier this week that it plans to “score” how members vote on the bill in its rating of which lawmakers are friendly to business interests.

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