Electronic Disclosure: Action Alert, Update
by Adam B, Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:20:22 PM EDT
For those who've been following the push to make Senate candidates file their FEC reports electronically just like everyone else, you'll recall that the March 14 hearing on the Feingold-Cochran bill went really well, with the speakers unanimously in support of this simple reform. Even the Hon. Robert Byrd, the defender of Senate tradition, is set to become the 32nd co-sponsor of this simple, bipartisan, noncontroversial legislation. As the National Journal notes:
It's not every day that senators get to vote on a bill that's as simple, sensible and non-controversial as the one now pending before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
Here's what the so-called Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act would do:
Indeed, the bill makes so much sense that it's hard to fathom why it's gone nowhere since its introduction more than three years ago. Not a single senator has publicly opposed the legislation, and numerous newspapers have endorsed it. As Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., put it during a recent hearing on the legislation: "This bill is as close to a no-brainer as you can get in this area."
- It would save the federal government hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
- It would polish up the Senate's public image, which remains badly tarnished by recent lobbying scandals.
- It would vastly improve public disclosure, and help voters make better-informed choices on Election Day.
Which, of course, means it's time for the Republicans to try to mess it up at tomorrow's scheduled mark-up hearing.
The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting today that Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) wants to amend the bill by adding a provision to allow candidates and parties to coordinate advertisements. In other words, take a clean, uncontroversial bill and complicate it with an unrelated matter.
We need to make sure that all Democrats on the Rules Committee show up at tomorrow's hearing to defeat the bill, and to persuade as many Republicans as we can to oppose Sen. Bennett's efforts to gum up the works with a more controversial provision that can be handled separately. So, if one of these Senators belongs to you:
Dems: Feinstein (CA), Byrd (WV), Inouye (HI), Dodd (CT), Schumer (NY), Durbin (IL), B. Nelson (NE), Reid (NV), Murray (WA), Pryor (AR)
Reps: Bennett (UT), Stevens (AK), McConnell (KY), Cochran (MS), Lott (MS), Hutchison (TX), Chambliss (GA), Hager (NE), Lamar! (TN)
Then call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at 1-800-459-1887, ask to be connected to his or her office, and just say something like:
Hi, I was hoping I could speak with someone about Sen. [Feingold if (D), Cochran if (R)]'s electronic disclosure bill? [wait] My name is [X], and I live in [Town], [Your State]. I regularly follow politics online, so I was hoping that the Senator would make sure to support S. 223 at tomorrow's hearing, and to make sure it will be voted out as a clean bill. Does s/he have a position on it? Is the Senator a co-sponsor?Two minutes; in, out, done. Our sources are telling me that some Democrats may skip tomorrow's hearing because they don't believe this issue is important to constituents. Just a few calls can change their minds. Make yours today, and let us know what they say.