With lawmakers campaigning and the threat of fiscal ruin awaiting them on their return, the window of opportunity to address campaign finance reform that opened briefly this summer is closing for the 112th Congress.
Efforts to change the system established by the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision foundered amid partisan sniping, and rekindling talks this fall seems unlikely. Republicans blocked the Disclose Act twice in the Senate, and the House has not indicated it will take up similar legislation. The legislation would require political groups to publicize the names of donors who give $10,000 or more.
Even so, a new generation of campaign finance reformers, led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has taken up the cause. The issue, as Whitehouse sees it, is the overwhelming corrupting influence that outside money is having on elections.