It should come as no surprise that Sen. Sherrod Brown’s first post-election legislative push would be on campaign finance reform.
After all, Brown won a second term in the U.S. Senate this past week despite a barrage of outside spending — about $40 million from conservative groups gunning for his ouster.
On Wednesday, in a conference call with reporters, Brown joked that everyone in Ohio would be happy to see beer commercials again, now that the campaign is over. He then launched into his case for tighter campaign finance rules.
He called for three steps:
• Passage of legislation called the Disclose Act, which would require independent groups to disclose the names of their high-dollar donors.
• Adoption of a measure giving shareholders the right to vote on a company’s political expenditures.
• An investigation by the IRS into whether some nonprofit groups are abusing their tax-exempt status by engaging in overt political activity.
“It won’t stop the spending,” Brown said of these proposals. “(But) it will tell the public who’s spending,” by requiring more disclosure.
None of these steps likely are to gain traction in the near term. Republicans have blocked the Disclose Act and other similar steps in the past, and they’re unlikely to have had a change of heart.