Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced that the Senate electronic filing bill mark-up will be held next Wednesday, March 28th. During the Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing on Sen. Russ Feingold's electronic filing bill ranking member Bob Bennett declared his intention to introduce amendments during the committee mark-up of the bill. Bennett promised that these amendments would be non-controversial. It appears that Bennett isn't going to keep his promise. The Campaign Finance Institute is sending out a letter to Congress demanding that the committee approve the bill as a stand alone measure with no amendments. In the letter Bennett is said to be introducing a highly controversial, partisan amendment that, if attached, would make the bill D.O.A. on the floor of the Senate. Read a section of the letter:
"Yet an amendment circulated by Senator Bennett for the March 28th scheduled mark-up of the Senate-only electronic disclosure bill — to repeal the 30 year old legal limits on all party spending in coordination with candidates– is extremely complex and controversial. It has long been opposed by major campaign reform groups. And it has produced a very strong partisan division in Congress. A similar provision was inserted by the Republican-led House Rules Committee — without a floor vote — into a 527 reform bill that passed the House in 2006 with overwhelming Democratic opposition. The Senate Democratic leadership voiced strong opposition to this provision and we have confirmed that it is opposed to the Bennett Amendment. Whatever one thinks of the substantive merits or flaws in this amendment — I personally have favored this change in the context of other campaign finance reforms–it has no place in a noncontroversial Senate consensus bill."
Clearly Bennett's aim is to wreck a bill which would pass the Senate unanimously if introduced as a stand alone. Five members of the committee are co-sponsors of the bill. The rest of the committee should vote against Bennett's attempt to kill the bill. They should vote against the amendments and for transparency. If your Senator is on the Rules and Administration Committee (check here) tell them to vote against Bennett's amendments and for greater transparency.