Opinion

Commentary: Partisan politics shouldn't block good campaign rules

Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted in a solid bloc Thursday to thwart new federal disclosure rules for corporations, unions and other special interests.

GOP Senate leaders would have served the country better by taking up the Democratic leadership's offer to debate provisions of the Disclose Act and pass a good bill as soon as possible -- yes, in time for the general election.

The reason is simple. A Supreme Court decision in January found that corporations, unions and other groups have the same electoral free speech rights as individuals. That decision leaves intact limits on direct donations to candidates but leaves those groups free to spend as much as they want on campaigning to support or oppose candidates on their own.

Given their money, the law gives the free speech practiced by such groups a much longer and wider reach -- and greater volume -- than the free speech all but a few individuals can afford.

Like freedom, campaign free speech isn't free, and those with the deepest pockets are free to dominate campaigns.

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