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Nolan to join likely futile Democratic efforts to rein in political spending

WASHINGTON — The congressman-elect has vowed to take on campaign finance regulations, but even good-government advocates are pessimistic about success.

Rick Nolan, left, talking with Craig Olson, the president of the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council, on Election Day.
MinnPost photo by Paul Walsh

“Successful members of Congress are expected to spend 30 hours a week in call time raising money,” he said. “And there is a clear relationship: Generally the ones with the most money get the most votes. We never, ever used to do that.”

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“This is something that is absolutely not an inside Washington game,” he said. “This is something that will call on the energies of the people of rural America, urban America, suburban America, north, south, east, west, central.”

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Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a member of the Senate’s Citizens United working group and a co-sponsor of the bill, is realistic about the chances of passing a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling — “If you can’t get a disclosure bill, it’s really hard to foresee getting a constitutional amendment,” he said.

But the bevy of ads that came with the 2012 election should push lawmakers to look at the DISCLOSE Act again, he said.  

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“I’ve been criticized in some respects for representing some kind of older, outdated way of thinking and doing things,” he said. “Well, guess what. That old way of doing things produced a whole heck of a lot better results. And it isn’t always a bad thing to go back to your foundation, go back to your values.”