On a vote of 219-206, the House sent to the Senate a bill sponsors say is intended as a response to a Supreme Court ruling this year throwing out corporate and union spending limits on political campaigns. The measure may run into resistance in the Senate, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., have criticized House Democrats for the compromises they accepted to win passage, and Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said it would be "inappropriate" to pass campaign finance reform ahead of the November election, The Hill reported.
Critics call the measure a violation of constitutional free speech guarantees but Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said the bill protects "the people's right to know."
GOP critics said compromises, intended to make the measure more acceptable to conservative Democrats, amounted to "backroom deals."
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said House Democrats "jammed through a piece of legislation that clearly violates the Constitution as well as basic principles of fairness and equity."
The Disclose Act would require corporate and non-profit organizations that spend money on political ads to disclose publicly their top five donors. It would also require some corporate and union officials to appear in ads, in much the same way as candidates for office must do, The Hill said.