Senate Dems in doomed push to limit campaign funds

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats started their campaign-season drive Monday for a constitutional amendment aimed at curbing special interests' financial clout in elections, a doomed effort the party hopes will make a populist appeal to voters.

The measure has no chance of winning the two-thirds majority needed to clear the Senate, let alone even being considered by the Republican-run House. It would allow Congress and the states to limit the money raised and spent in election campaigns, curbs that have been weakened by Supreme Court decisions in recent years.

With Congress back from a summer recess, Democrats planned to bring the measure to the Senate floor on Monday, eight weeks from elections in which they are fighting to retain their majority in the chamber.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Democrats around the country have spent months lambasting the billionaire Koch brothers. The duo has contributed millions to conservative groups that are spending large sums to try defeating Democratic senators.

Republicans say limiting campaign spending by outside groups would violate free speech — a rationale Supreme Court justices have used in decisions diluting restrictions that were enacted decades ago. Republicans say Democrats are pushing the measure simply to make political points.

The measure is sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.