Sen. John McCain is talking with Democrats about a joint effort to require outside groups that have spent millions of dollars on this year’s elections to disclose their donors. McCain (R-Ariz.), once Congress’s leading champion of campaign finance reform, has kept a low profile on the issue in recent years. He raised the ire of many Republicans a decade ago for pushing comprehensive reform, and many Republicans still held it against him during his 2008 presidential campaign. Good-government advocates who worked with McCain in the 1990s and early 2000s had begun to think he’d given up on the issue. But McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership. “I’ve been having discussions with Sen. [Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-R.I.] and a couple others on the issue,” McCain told The Hill.
McCain said he wants to ensure the legislation is balanced to cover labor union activity as well as spending by corporations and rich individuals. “I want it to be balanced and address the issue of union contributions as well as other outside contributions,” he said. McCain said the legislation drafted by Democrats does not ensure regulatory parity between corporate and union activity. He said the talks have been going on for “a couple of months.”