On a party line vote, 53-45, Senate Republicans blocked a second Democratic attempt to end the GOP filibuster on the DISCLOSE Act on Tuesday.
In a 51-44 vote Monday night, Senate Republicans unanimously voted to block the Democratically backed DISCLOSE Act, which would have required political organizations to disclose the names of donors who give $10,000 or more.
Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that if Congress doesn't do something to curb the torrents of money being spent on political campaigns by secret donors, said today, then "17 angry old white men will wake up" on the morning after Election Day, "and realize they've just bought the country."
With that rip-snorting salvo at the wealthy donors who have been giving seven-figure contributions to shadowy political groups and Super PACs, the Senate Democrats opened debate on Monday on the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act - a measure that would require that political organizations disclose all donors who give them more than $10,000.
The current system permits "legalized political money laundering" that is "a perfect recipe for corruption," said Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, the bill's lead sponsor. "Hang on to your wallets. Here come the special interests. And you won't even know who they are."
Leading the opposition, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the DISCLOSE Act represents a desperate act by Democrats to hamper GOP fundraising.
It is "member and donor harassment and intimidation," said McConnell. "We have serious problems in this country. Too much free speech is not one of them."
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called the Democratic ploy "pathetic," and called DISCLOSE "one of the most deliberately political pieces of legislation you will ever see."
The White House on Monday said it strongly supports the act, which it called a "necessary measure to ensure transparency and accountability," according to a statement from the Office of Management and Budget.
Photo: Harry Rreid (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Updated at 5: 30 p.m.