Today, the Sunlight Foundation launched a new campaign to reveal which senator is blocking passage of the Senate Campaign Disparity Act (S. 223). If you’ve been following this story here you know that twice this bill - which would require senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically - has been blocked by an anonymous Republican senator who is being hidden by Sen. Mitch McConnell. In his home state of Kentucky we are launching a billboard and a Web site to force McConnell to reveal the name of the anonymous senator. The Louisville Courier-Journal and the Politico have already picked up the story. Check out What’s McConnell Hiding? for more details or continue reading below the fold. We have a number of ways for you to get involved.Continue reading
On Monday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to help her pass S.223, the Senate campaign finance electronic filing bill. McConnell has been abetting a Republican objection to the bill by refusing to reveal information about who in his party does not approve of this no-brainer legislation. While McConnell states that Republican Senators want to offer amendments to the bill he also refuses to identify and describe these amendments. Feinstein is committed to passing this bill and McConnell has said that he supports it. McConnell must meet with Sen. Feinstein to work together to pass this bill without poison pill amendments. Feinstein's letter asks for McConnell to identify to her the amendments that Republican Senators wish to offer. If they have the kind of support that S.223 has than they could be added. If they are controversial, they should go through the regular committee process. This is very simple and fair. Read the letter:Continue reading
The Winston-Salem Journal stands up for openness while Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators, including the two North Carolina Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, continue to block S.223 from passing in a clean, amendment-free fashion. McConnell and a few Republican Senators want to amend the bill to prevent its passage. The Winston-Salem Journal write that the objecting Senator, or Senators, should go "public with his or her objections." What McConnell and his cohort need to understand is that objecting to a bill may be a Senate tradition, "But to do so anonymously is cowardly, and to do so while professing not to be the blocker is deceitful." Tell Mitch McConnell - (202) 224-2541 - to release the names of the objectors and to make any and all amendments available to the public now.Continue reading
Three editorial boards let loose today on Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Senate Republican Caucus for blocking the "no-brainer" legislation to require Senator's to electronically file their campaign finance reports. The Lexington Herald-Leader wrote that the Republican block is "but another of those too-clever maneuvers that serve only to undermine public support for Congress." The Baltimore Sun excoriates the entire Senate for failing to pass this simple measure. But the real gem comes in Roll Call's editorial, wherein we learn that, "McConnell told Roll Call that 'a couple of people on my side want to offer an amendment'". If there was ever doubt that this was not an attempt to kill the bill with "poison pill" amendments it ought to have just slithered out of the room. If the Republicans want to have a debate why not make their amendments public and see if they can't reach a deal as Sen. Bennett did when he attempted to attach a controversial amendment to the bill. Call Mitch McConnell - (202) 224-2541 - and let him know you don't appreciate his delaying and blocking techniques. Tell him to release the names of the objecting Senators and to release the details of the amendments he wants to add. Use this comment form to tell us what he says.Continue reading
Today the Louisville Courier-Journal joins our call for Sen. Mitch McConnell to release the name of the anonymous Senator blocking the passage of S.223. McConnell needs to give the name up and let the bill pass. He has made electronic filing into a partisan issue for no reason except to continue the status quo of wasted tax dollars and hidden campaign contributions. The Courier-Journal calls McConnell out on his dismissal of transparency:
This great defender of dollar-driven politics -- Washington's self-identified champion of money as the constitutional equivalent of speech -- has always insisted the answer is not less cash in campaigns but more transparency. Trust the voters to figure out who is scratching whose back, he says, by making sure they can find out who is giving what to whom.
What's clear, once again, is that Sen. McConnell says one thing and does another. He makes not only Kentucky but the Senate itself look bad.
You can continue to help find the identity of the anonymous Senator here.Continue reading
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to let S.223 - a bill to require that Senators file their campaign finance reports electronically - pass by unanimous consent. Callers to his office receive the same response every time they call. The staffs of McConnell and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), the proxy Senator lodging the objection, say that the identity of the anonymous Senator will be revealed as soon as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) puts the bill on the schedule. These demands show that, no matter who is objecting to the bill now, McConnell and Bunning will ensure that whenever this bill comes up for unanimous consent some “anonymous” Senator will raise an objection.Continue reading
As one who has followed Sen. Mitch McConnell's stiff opposition to campaign finance reform efforts for many years, I can't help but recall that while McConnell opposed any campaign finance reform efforts he was always a fan of campaign finance disclosure. That's why his current position on the secret hold/objection on the Senate's electronic disclosure bill - I know but I won't tell - is a bit strange. I mean, if he's for disclosure, then he should want to help S. 223 along.
Here's a sampling of some of what he said in 2001 and 2002 in the context of the debate on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law:Continue reading
The Washington Post reports today that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the only non-respondent to queries about an anonymous hold on S.223, is denying that he has a hold on the bill. According to the Post article, Gregg’s spokeswoman Erin Rath states, “As a matter of practice, Senator Gregg does not use secret holds.” When pressed again, Rath stated that Gregg does not have a hold on the bill. Gregg’s denial isn’t the most definitive “no” that we’ve heard so we are still unsure about his status. However, there is one person that everyone knows has the answer to the mystery of the anonymous hold: Mitch McConnell. Call his office and ask him who made an anonymous objection to S.223: (202) 224-2541. Send us your findings through this comment form.Continue reading
Glenn Reynolds notes that both Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are holding up legislation that would make the Senate have to electronically file their campaign finance reports. This process would save the Federal Election Commission about $250,000 and countless hours of work per election cycle, not to mention the numerous other benefits to campaign finance watchers. Now here's the crazy thing: both Trent Lott and Mitch McConnell already use electronic software to fill out FEC forms. In fact, it is highly likely that they are among the 95% of Senators who use the FEC's own or recommended software.Continue reading
My conversations yesterday with senior staffers on the Hill about the prognosis of electronic filing for Senate campaign finance reports were illuminating. The bill is stuck in the Rules Committee which at this point in the legislative cycle means it's not happening. I was told that only if there was unanimous consent would the legislation move, but that was unlikely because there is one key opponent - Senator Mitch McConnell.
I had to laugh: the Senator known as the Darth Vader of campaign finance reform - who used to defend his opposition to that by calling for more disclosure - is now out to kill even disclosure! In the context of debating a disclosure amendment about union funds in 2001, McConnell said:Continue reading