Sen. John Ensign continues to transparently block the electronic filing bill by refusing to back down from a ridiculous amendment requiring outside groups filing ethics complaints to reveal their funding sources. In stating his refusal to yield Ensign also admitted that he is working with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the author of this absurd amendment, to block passage of the electronic filing bill. The Hill reports, "Ensign added that he consulted with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) before deciding on his strategy, deeming the push for the amendment 'something we did together … we discussed it. I felt it was a good idea for me to do it.'" (Emphasis added.) McConnell has stated previously, including in the last few days, that he supports the electronic filing bill. It appears that he is being far less than honest.
Ensign and McConnell should do the senatorial thing and step out of the way as Sen. Bob Bennett did when he tried to offer a poison pill amendment. Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein has offered Ensign a fair hearing in her committee on his amendment in exchange for dropping his objection to electronic filing. It's time for Ensign and McConnell to stop blocking transparency legislation.Continue reading
On Monday, S. 223, the Senate electronic filing bill was blocked for a third time, this time by Sen. John Ensign who offered an amendment that would require outside organizations filing ethics complaints to disclose their funding sources. This non-germane amendment did not originate from Ensign’s offices. Sunlight has learned that last week Democratic offices were given a Unanimous Consent agreement that would have allowed the Senate to move to S. 223 only if they agreed to take up a an amendment identical to the one introduced on Monday by Senator John Ensign. The consent agreement came from none other than the offices of Sen. Mitch McConnell, whom the Sunlight Foundation has targeted as a culprit in covering up the identity of the anonymous Senators previously blocking the bill. That the “McConnell amendment” is now being offered by Senator Ensign comes as no surprise to long time McConnell watchers, who are well aware that when it comes to reform, McConnell is often hiding behind the scenes, pulling all the strings. . The document shows that the effort to block S. 223 originates not from the offices of Sen. Ensign but from the Minority Leader’s office. So, McConnell wasn’t hiding the identity of a fellow senator, he was hiding himself!Continue reading
Moments ago Sens. Russ Feingold and Dianne Feinstein attempted to pass S.223, the Senate electronic filing bill, and were blocked by Sen. John Ensign who objected and attempted to offer a poison pill amendment. This is the third time the bill has been blocked by the Republican side although this is the first time that the hold was not anonymous. We now know that Sen. John Ensign is the one blocking this "no-brainer" bill that would simply require senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically. Sen. Ensign has some nerve opposing a bill that has near unanimous public support and which would simply move the Senate into the 20th century. Now that we know what McConnell was hiding I have to ask what is Ensign, the director of the National Republican Senate Committee, hiding in those campaign finance documents.Continue reading
In the middle of the reform push in Washington, where lawmakers are banning staff from accepting meals and treats from lobbyists and leadership PACs are releasing their lobbyist treasurers, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Ted Stevens (R-AK) is set to hold a lavish lobbyist fundraiser at the headquarters of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for his leadership PAC. Of the 44 members of the host committee, one is not a lobbyist. Sen. John Ensign recently held his own fundraiser for his re-election campaign at the NRSC headquarters. As Robert Novak writes in the Arizona National Ledger, “This is money-raising season, with a lobbyist-run event nearly every day.”Continue reading