Congress

Public Campaign Action Fund is now Every Voice. Check out our new website: EveryVoice.org

Don't Just Throw It Away

The Kansas City Star today gets after Congress to fix the presidential public financing system. Decrying the attitude of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who wants to junk public financing for good, this editorial suggests that neglect has caused a breakdown in the system, but that public financing is still sorely needed to reduce corruption and restore accountability in elections.

 

Had It Up To Here

Illinois' Journal Standard has "about had it with the corrupting influence of money in politics" and believes the only way to get rid of it is to embrace public financing of elections. Campaign costs rise unchecked and candidates have no choice but to chase larger and larger sums of money -- without sweeping change in the form of public financing of elections, there's no evidence the pattern will reverse itself.

 

Making New Friends

Can you rub your stomach and pat your head? Can Congress cut tax breaks for oil companies while taking campaign cash from Shell and Chevron? According to the oil lobbyists (and business and pharmaceutical lobbyists) Tom Hamburger and Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times talk to, Democratic congressional leaders are more than willing to try and do both.

 

They're Listening

The Senate stalled on the ethics and lobbying reform bil Wednesday and it looked like it was going to be left for dead. But, last night, things changed and the Senate passed a bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said in the Washington Post:

 

Drilling for Dollars

Remember our old pal Tom DeLay? Though he’s been out of Congress for quite a few months now, his influence and backroom dealings live on, according to a new report by Public Citizen released today.

 

What Was That About Corruption?

Though 42% of voters last November said corruption was one of their top issues when casting their ballot, the Senate still failed to pass legislation yesterday that would have tightened regulations surrounding ethics and lobbying reform.

 

After a long day and some backroom maneuvering the bill went down without a vote late last night.

 

We Are Family

The Senate is considering legislation (possibly voting on it today) that would ban spouses of senators from lobbying any part of the chamber—unless the spouse was lobbying a year before the senator was elected.

 

 

Doolittle Bows to Pressure

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), apparently taking a lesson from his very weak re-election numbers and widespread concerns over he and his wife's ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has decided to no longer employ his wife as his main campaign fundraiser. Doolittle drew criticism for employing her at a commission, directing 15% of all donations towards their household income.

 

Big Pharma Buys Weaker Policy

From the front page of today's Washington Post a reminder of the power of the pharmaceutical lobby. Democratic leadership had a bill in mind for a goverment-run prescription drug program designed to cut costs for senior citizens. Then the drug lobby - and their checkbooks- started knocking at the door and cutting health care costs took a backseat to appeasing them.

 

Sen. Durbin's Speech In Support of Public Financing

In his speech on the floor of the Senate announcing his intention to introduce a full public financing bill, Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) asked his colleagues to think beyond initial ethics reform to a more comprehensive solution: "I hope it will only be the beginning and that we can move, even in this session of Congress, to meaningful hearings and the passage of public financing of campaigns that will truly reform the way we elect men and women to office at the Federal level and restore respect to this great institution of the U.S.