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Senate Republicans block campaign spending disclosure bill

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans have blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend.

Republicans united in preventing Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote was 51-44.

Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action groups and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed contributors, are dominating the airwaves with political ads. It would not have affected this year’s election.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., missed the vote. A spokesman said he was campaigning.

Heller’s office did not respond to a request for more details on the campaign event, including whether it was in Washington or out of town.

Heller would have voted against the Disclose Act if he had been present, Bybee said, adding Heller voted against a similar bill when he was in the House.

Following the vote, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., charged Republicans who blocked the bill were less interested in disclosure and more interested in protecting big-money donors.

Staff and wire reports

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