Republicans are accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of playing politics with campaign finance legislation, saying that the Nevada Democrat is delaying a vote on the bill in order for Democrats to attend a fundraiser.
Reid abruptly announced Tuesday that he would again try to force a vote to take up the DISCLOSE Act, legislation designed to counteract a Supreme Court ruling that eliminated key controls on corporate spending.
Under the Senate’s rules, Reid could schedule the renewed cloture motion on the bill at any time because the chamber had previously voted down the motion this year. But instead of scheduling the vote for Wednesday afternoon or evening, Reid decided to hold the vote Thursday.
Democrats are holding a major House-Senate campaign fundraising event hosted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in New York City on Wednesday. According to an invitation, Reid, the New York Democratic Congressional delegation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and President Barack Obama are scheduled to attend the event, which starts at 4:30 p.m.
Tickets to the general reception cost $100. Tickets for “priority standing and VIP Reception with members of Congress” cost $2,500 per person, while tickets to dinner and a “presidential photo reception” cost $15,200 per person.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley dismissed any connection between the vote’s timing and the fundraiser, noting that Democrats want to force a vote on the bill and that a host of Democratic lawmakers want to speak on the Senate floor about the bill Wednesday and Thursday morning.
“The fact is that we have more than enough speakers to get us through the day,” Manley said.
He also said Reid is not going to attend the fundraiser, despite the invitation that had been sent to donors.
But Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, charged that a more nefarious motive was behind Reid’s decision.
“For Americans who are angry with the arrogance and hypocrisy they’ve been seeing from Democrats in Washington, they should closely observe the next 48 hours and remember to vote on November 2nd. Because just hours before voting on a bill designed to curb free speech and curtail election-related spending, Democrats will be delaying that vote in order to raise money at a fancy New York City fundraiser so they can fatten their own election-related spending,” Walsh said in an e-mail.