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Cards on the Table! 4. 29.10

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by Susan C. Strong, Founder and Executive Director, The Metaphor Project

Right now the biggest game on Capitol Hill is the financial reform bill.  Although the outcome is still far from sure, the Democrats are finally getting their narrative on this topic right, moving into American 'punch back fighter' mode. They're countering Republican and Chamber of Commerce propaganda immediately.  They’re 'stepping up to the plate' and demanding that legislators and tycoons 'do the right thing' for the American people. (1)  But if the Democrats succeed in passing a decent financial reform bill, or even a just barely good enough bill, there is something else they’d better do next before moving on to the energy bill, the immigration bill,  the new START treaty, or whatever else they've got on their list.

That something is a vital piece of their “punch back” reform story. It’s the “DISCLOSE” bill, unveiled today by Senator Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen. (2)  It’s designed to counter the damage the Supreme Court did us all with its Citizens United decision to allow unlimited corporate money in electioneering. The DISCLOSE bill will require big corporate or union ad backers to declare that “yes, they approved this ad,” and it should prevent them from hiding behind “dummy organizations and sham groups, ” with deceptive names.(3)

It’s time we the people called their bluff and made big corporate thieves put their personal (business) cards on the table. That includes flushing out the so-called “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce.  Top-flight investigative reporting has consistently shown that the Chamber’s policies and actions are now dominated by a shrinking number of retro corporations who are actively fighting our much-needed shift to a green energy economy. (4)  Talk about betting wrong! That’s pretty far from representing all of American business these days.

The DISCLOSE bill sounds like the real “punch back” thing, and it looks like a winner. Let’s talk to everyone about making big corporate thugs “put their cards on the table!” 


(1) This was Senator Schumer’s language in a recent statement about the financial reform bill, quoted in the New York Times, on April 23, 2010.

http://www.politico.com/playbook/, April 29, 2010

(3) This quote from Rep. Chris Van Hollen comes from Mike Allen’s Playbook for 4.26.10, which is, along with a house op ed in the Sunday New York Times of 4. 25.10, a source for my description of the bill. 

(4) Below are some recent examples of this kind of investigative reporting:

a. Fact-Checking the US Chamber of Commerce:
America's most overblown business lobby, busted., b
y Josh Harkinson | Mother Jones, January/February 2010 Issue

b. Preaching Principle, Enabling Excess, by Tom Donohue

Released October 15, 2009, 'Preaching Principle, Enabling Excess: How Tom Donohue Compromised the Credibility of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce' is a new report from Change to Win http://changetowin.org/chamber/?gclid=CPfB4euQmaECFR9aiAodgnjQPw

c. Chamber of Commerce Admits Funding Anti-Worker Ads While Accepting Bailout Money, Adam Green, Huffington Post, April 14, 2009