Why is John McCain refraining from joining Democrats who are initiating a measure strengthening campaign finance reform? McCain, known as the father of campaign reform, will not join the Democrats; not a single Republican in the Senate will.
The bill, called the Disclose Act, would force political groups that spend more than $10,000 on federal campaigns to disclose their donors.
McCain has said that he will not endorse the bill unless it eschews favorable treatment for unions that are in the Democratic Party’s corner.
The Democrats are still trying to undo the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who is pushing the legislation, said melodramatically:
“The flood of secret money unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision threatens to drown out the voices of middle class families in our democracy. The Disclose Act will uphold every citizen’s right to know where this secret money is coming from and whom it is going to, and will help protect the interests of middle class families from the special interests who already have too much power. It’s time for Congress to act.”
But McCain said he was waiting for something big to happen before he signed on:
“What I really think is that it’s going to take a scandal and there’s going to be one. There’s just too much money washing around. Every time in history there have been these reforms it’s been following a scandal. It’s what it’s going to take, I think.”
This is typical McCain; he wouldn’t garner any publicity for joining a cause that was always essentially his. If he’s going to join in, it had better be big news so he can keep his name in the papers, and nothing makes more news than a scandal. After all, McCain has never shied away from crossing the aisle before, and when he did, it was always trumpeted by the New York Times.
Still, it’s nice that McCain pretends to care about free speech for once.