ABC News' Devin Dwyer and Matt Jaffe:
On a conference call with reporters today, Sen. Chuck Schumer said he’s “working very hard on getting a Republican” to support his version of the campaign-finance reform bill known as the Disclose Act. He added that “there are a number of possibilities.”
But with the measure slated for a Senate vote tomorrow, he can cross Sen. Susan Collins of Maine off his list of potential supporters. Collins said through a spokesman this afternoon that she will not support the bill in its current form.
“The bill would provide a clear and unfair advantage to unions, while either shutting other organizations out of the election process or subjecting them to onerous reporting requirements that would not apply to unions,” Collins’ press secretary Kevin Kelley told ABC News.
“Senator Collins also believes that it is ironic that a bill aimed at curtailing special interests in the election process provides so many carve outs and exemptions that favor some grassroots organizations over others. This too is simply unfair.”
Collins’ opposition is the latest blow to Democrats’ hopes of passing the bill. Last week Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, whom Democrats had eyed as a possible ally, publicly opposed the measure.
So far no Republicans have publicly supported the bill, and Democrats need at least one Republican to support the measure in order to avoid a filibuster.
The bill, which passed the House of Representatives on June 24, would make special-interest groups disclose their top donors if they broadcast ads or blast out mass mailings in the months leading up to an election, among other restrictions. But it includes several exemptions for large interest groups, including the National Rifle Association, Sierra Club, and labor unions.
“Let’s be clear,” said New York Democrat Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor Monday, “if we fail to act now, the winner of November’s elections won’t be Democrats or Republicans, it’ll be special interests.”
Republicans have largely opposed the measure on grounds it places undue limits on the political process, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to filibuster.
– Devin Dwyer and Matt Jaffe