As the government shutdown continues to consume the daily life of Congress, members sharing their thoughts on Twitter seem eager to frame events through the lens of the shutdown.Continue reading
Representative Van Hollen reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act in the House, marking his continued support for legislation that would shine a... View ArticleContinue reading
Transparency advocates suffered a setback today, when the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Van Hollen v.... View ArticleContinue reading
When the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or super committee, emerges from the shadows on Wednesday morning to hold its first public hearing in a month, the Sunlight Live team will be there to shine a light on who’s influencing the panel.
As the 12 members inch closer to proposing at least $1.2 trillion in federal cuts or new revenue sources before the end of November, little has come out about their ideas even as reports have surfaced about daily or twice-daily “unofficial” meetings.
More than 200 groups or people — with health care lobbyists leading the way ...
After being dormant for all of 2011, Congressman Chris Van Hollen's joint fundraising committee woke up in the third quarter, with most of the over $180,000 in funds coming after he was tapped for Congress’s powerful deficit-cutting committee in early August.
As a result, Van Hollen, D-Md., one of the most prominent Democrats on Capitol Hill, raised much more in the quarter than was previously reported. His campaign raised a total of about $254,000 in the period, more than tripling his bounty from the previous quarter. And he collected about 50 percent more than he did ...Continue reading
A big audience turned out yesterday for the second meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the "super committee," as its 12 members asked questions of the first witness, CBO director Doug Elmendorf. The meeting was open to the public and there was live video on the committee's new website.
While all the other cameras were focused on the committee members and witness, we turned ours 180 degrees to check out the crowd — and we want your help to identify the people keeping a close eye on this committee. Check out the photos below and the ...
As the 2010 election cycle heats up, voters will be exposed to the usual bombardment of campaign ads—many of them... View ArticleContinue reading
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC opened the door to a torrent of new political spending that,... View ArticleContinue reading
Among the potentially meaningful and important changes to the law in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act is a provision that requires candidates for federal office to report the bundled contributions they receive from lobbyists. Bundled contributions are among the most insidious sources of campaign money because they give a single donor the opportunity to get credit for raising contributions that are often hundreds of times greater than the legal limits applied to individuals. The massive contributions no doubt result in greater access to elected officials. At Sunlight, we believe bundled contributions from any party-CEOs, non-lobbyist lawyers and law firms-should be publicly disclosed. But, the new law limits such disclosure to registered lobbyists, which at least begins to get to the heart of the problem.
The key to this well-intended provision is to ensure that when it is applied, it is not so full of loopholes that any lobbyist worth her $500 an hour fee finds a way to avoid reporting the bundled contributions she forwards to candidates. The Federal Election Commission has the responsibility of crafting regulations that carry out the intent of the new law. The FEC asked for public comment on its proposed rules, and made those comments available yesterday. The comments came from three Members of Congress, groups that champion ethics reform, and others who, for reasons of their own (or their clients) seem to want to keep bundled contributions hidden in the shadows.
The Politico reports that even when it appears to be against their fundraising interests, the Democrats felt pressured last week to live up to their anti-corruption pledge that swept them into the office in the last election.
"The most important thing for our new members is to be able to go back to their constituents and say they were part of changing the direction in Washington, and that includes holding Congress accountable and holding members accountable," Rep. Van Hollen, DCCC chairman said.
Jeanne Cummings concludes her column by saying:Continue reading