Updated to reflect Kyl's denial.
Is it OR ?
Jon Kyl - (202) 224-4521 Judd Gregg - (202) 224-3324
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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) refuses to tell his constituents if they are anonymously blocking the non-controversial electronic filing bill, S.223. Why won't Judd Gregg come clean and either admit or deny? The only assumption to be made is that Gregg is blocking the bill. It's a shame that Kyl and Gregg have to hide in his office behind staff assistants who know little of what is going on. Come out in the open and answer the question: are you blocking S.223?
I've been out of Washington for the day and when I returned I found the following email from a former colleague who now does press for Sen. Lamar Alexander:
I ran across your call to arms on the anonymous hold on the senate electronic filing bill, and wanted to let you know that we really honestly have no idea who's behind it. The rules (both parties) on this kind of thing are complicated and not necessarily formal, but basically my boss just happened to be standing there when the floor staff needed an R senator to formally register an objection that was already filed. This is SOP, happens all the time, has for decades. It's why both parties always make sure to have at least one of their members on the floor whenever we're in session. The only people who actually know the holder's name are the floor staff and your old nemesis, McConnell. And, of course, Sen. Luddite him or herself, whoever it is.Continue reading
Ironically, Alexander supported the bill in Rules and will happily vote for it on the floor. So you can have your members call us if you like, but we're already on your side, and couldn't tattle even if we wanted to (it would be frowned upon in the conference as a breach of senate protocol, of course). Just thought you'd want to know so you can focus your pressure more usefully.
We've narrowed our list down to three Senators: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ),
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH). Our callers have been vigorously calling these offices to try and track down the Senator anonymously blocking Sen. Russ Feingold's electronic filing bill. We may be ready to cross Sen. Gregg's name off the list as we have received a few responses from callers like this one from Sunlight caller PH: "In Sen. Gregg's office, staff memember "Tim" said, to my knowledge Sen. Gregg did not place the secret hold on S. 223." Sen. Gregg is still a suspect. Sen. Vitter's office appears to have been deluged with calls over this as the press secretary's mailbox is completely full with calls about the blocked bill.[Vitter says "NO" - PB]
Sen. Kyl's office appears to be the most evasive with staffers saying things like, "it's a secret hold, so it's a secret," and, "we have no public statement to make." Another caller to Kyl's office noted that the staffer said that Sen. Feingold knows and that we should ask him. Feingold, however, denies having been told who the Senator is in this blog post. Keep the pressure on! Use this comment form to notify us of your interactions with staff and your findings.Continue reading
This post has been updated to reflect corrections made by the offices of Sens. Thad Cochran and Jim DeMint. - PB.
There are only 3 Senators who refuse to state if they have a hold or an objection to S. 223, the campaign finance electronic filing bill. Let’s finish the job and call their offices. There is no reason remaining for any Senator who does not have a hold or objection on this bill to continue to remain silent. Either admit or deny. The 3 Senators' contact info is below. Use this contact form to let us know what you find. If you come across any problems or statements like “There is no hold” here are some pointers to take into account:
- The office of Sen.
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)John Ensign (R-NV) [Ensign not Kyl. - PB] has repeatedly told us that the Republican policy for secret holds is to reveal the culprit after 72 hours. By my count it has been way past 72 hours since the hold went into effect.
- If the Senator who placed a hold on the bill by making an objection seriously wanted to review the bill they have now had an entire week to review the bill. It only says one thing: Senators, all of whom already use the software necessary to do so, will file their campaign finance reports electronically.
Finish the job and call these remaining 3 Senators now!Continue reading
Major media outlets are reporting that the Senator in question is definitely a Republican. Since we know that the Senator is a Republican we can narrow down our search to the remaining 12 Republican Senators. Help find the anonymous Senator and call these 12 Senators today. I’ve separated them into two groups. One group contains Republican cosponsors of the bill that have not made a statement yet. It is highly unlikely that any of these Senators have blocked the bill but it is still worth getting a statement out of them. The second group is our Main Suspects list. These Senators aren’t cosponsors and have either not been contacted or refuse to divulge information. It is time to put pressure on these 10 Senators. Just in case a staffer tells you there is no hold let them know that Sen. DeMint's office confirmed that there is a hold to one our callers. Who is the anonymous Senator blocking S. 223? It’s time to find out. Use this contact form to let us know or leave your findings in the comments.
Secret hold. Secret objection. Whatever you call it there is no reason for some anonymous Senator to secretly block any bill, let alone a bill that increases transparency. As Ellen said, “a hold is a hold is a hold, unless you want to debate what the definition of "is" is.” Instapundit agrees. But thanks to you, we’re getting closer to figuring out which Senator is anonymously blocking this bill. Currently we’ve crossed 56 Senators off of our list, 29 Republicans and 27 Democrats. We still need you to call your Senators and find out who the anonymous Senator is. Let’s finish this today!Continue reading
Update: Here's Feingold's statement.
Today Russ Feingold and Dianne Feinstein brought S.223, the Senate electronic disclosure bill, to the floor for a unanimous consent vote. When they asked if there was any objection Sen. Lamar Alexander, filling in for the minority leadership, announced that he had an objection, indicating that some Senator in the Republican caucus has placed a secret hold on the disclosure bill. This is twice in two years that a Senator has placed a secret hold on legislation providing for more disclosure to the public. Last year, it was the Coburn-Obama earmark database bill and a coalition of Right and Left bloggers smoked out both Sens. Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd as the secret holders. Don't these Senators know that we will find out who you are.Continue reading
Members of Congress are about to head back to their districts for two weeks of townhall meetings, meet-and-greets, and Easter egg hunts (or if they're like me they'll be eating a lot of hillel sandwiches) but they have yet to pass a complete lobbying reform bill. The problem is that S. 1, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, has been in stuck in the House of Representatives as the parties fight over Iraq funding. Once that issue is resolved the House is likely to discuss reforms, including, we hope, our transparency agenda. So far the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties has held one hearing on S. 1. The points of contention in the legislation were the disclosure of lobbyist bundling and the increase in the "cooling off" period from one to two years. Republican members of the subcommittee also raised concerns that the Democrats would try to include grassroots lobbying disclosure provisions in the bill. So far, this has been the only action in the House although there are a number of bills that have been introduced.Continue reading
Word from Adam Bonin is that Feinstein found 10 members of the Rules and Administration Committee on the floor of the Senate and they voted in a side room 10-0 to pass S.223, the Senate electronic filing bill, out of committee. This is excellent news. You can, and should, still sign the Sunlight Network's petition to your Senators urging them to support the bill when it comes up for a vote on the Senate floor. (Link to the petition.)Continue reading
UPDATE: Our intelligence tells us that the committee will vote off the floor around noon today. Rules and Administration Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) just announced that Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) will drop his amendment allowing the electronic filing bill to move forwards. Feinstein agreed to hold a hearing on a stand alone bill of Bennett's amendment. And now Bennett cosponsors the bill, S. 223. Amazing! However, not enough Democrats showed up for there to be a quorum so the meeting was adjourned without a vote on the bill. The committee will likely vote off the floor once they get enough votes. It's ironic that a disclosure bill will be voted on behind closed doors. The bill should still move forwards.Continue reading