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Tag Archive: Secret Hold

Sen. Jon Kyl: Afraid of Open Government

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Sometimes senators admit that they are holding a particular piece of legislation. In this case, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) admitted that he is the one blocking passage of the OPEN Government Act, a FOIA improving bill cosponsored by Sens. Pat Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). Kyl states that the bill would require the Justice Department to release sensitive data related to law enforcement and that the "uncharacteristically strong" opposition to the bill from Justice is reason enough to block the bill. According to the AP, the Justice Department is concerned about "a section that would eliminate exemptions allowing the government to deny access to privileged or law-enforcement sensitive information." Sen. Leahy assailed the hold that Kyl is using to block the bill, "This is a good government bill that Democrats and Republicans alike can and should work together to enact. It should be passed without further delay." The same goes for the Senate Campaign Disparity Act (S. 223). If Kyl can fess up to holding an open government bill then Mitch McConnell can cough up the names of the anonymous senators blocking S. 223 from passing.

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Sigh. Another Secret Hold.

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What is it with bills that create more open and transparent government and secret holds? Last week, a Republican senator placed a secret hold on the OPEN Government Act, a bill that would expand and fill the holes in FOIA. OPEN is cosponsored by Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), who have pushed for greater FOIA rights for some time now. As soon as they get the ability to pass the bill someone in Cornyn's party blocks it. We know that the secret hold comes from a Republican because it came through the leadership. This is yet another instance of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hiding the identity of a secret holder. Josh at the Seminal has put together a list of senators to call and ask if they placed the secret hold. If you have a moment you should stop by and give your senator a call. Openthegovernment.org, Public Citizen, and the Federation of American Scientists have also put out a call to arms to unmask the secret holder. Do your part and make the call. If they can't end the practice of secret holds anytime soon than we may as well make the secrecy obsolete by unmasking the secret senator every single time.

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Feinstein asks for McConnell’s help on S.223

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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:

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Go Public With the Objection

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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.

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Senate Republicans Want to Offer Amendments to S.223

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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.

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Silence from McConnell. S.223 Still Blocked.

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Yet another day has passed where Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to divulge the name of the anonymous Senator blocking S.223. When will McConnell come clean? You can continue to call your Senators if they are listed below. So far, the only Senator to deny placing the objection is Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA). Are there any other Senators willing to break McConnell's wall of silence?

For the most recent update listen to Sunlight Executive Director Ellen Miller on NPR's Marketplace. We'll keep giving updates as they happen. Keep calling your Senators and let us know what they say in this comment form.

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McConnell Won’t Let the Bill Move

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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.

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Watch Bunning Block the Bill

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Don't forget to keep calling your Senators and ask if they registered an objection to S.223. Use this comment form to let us know what you find or leave them in the comment thread. Meanwhile, why don't you watch Sens. Feinstein and Feingold denounce the last week's objection right before Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) registers yet another anonymous objection.

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Another Objection! S.223 Still Blocked.

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Just moments ago, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) attempted to pass S.223, the Senate campaign finance electronic filing bill, for a second time. This time Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) announced an anonymous objection to the bill from the Republican side. Since we called every Republican office and found no one to admit to placing the original objection we now know that one or more Senators are lying to their constituents. Let's clarify the language and call every single Republican Senator and ask them if they registered an objection to S.223. Don't ask about secret holds or whether they support the bill. Just ask if the Senator registered an objection to the bill. Get the Senator on the record. Don't take the word of a Staff Assistant. Get the Senator to issue a statement and talk to someone who handles the issue. And don't just call you Senators, - call Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) too. He knows who the liar is and covering them up. If you have a Republican Senator call them now and ask if they are objecting to S.223. Leave your findings in this comment form or in the comment section below. Call numbers are below the fold.

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Mitch McConnell Knows Mystery Senator Identity. Call Him.

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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.

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