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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For Sale: Washington

Want an answer to why our government is gridlocked? Look at yesterday's Senate vote blocking discussion of a measure to bring sunshine to the campaign finance laws.

With Republicans -- including our own Scott Brown -- voting in lockstep, the Senate refused to even debate the Disclose Act. That's the Democratic sponsored legislation to undo the damage of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that is enabling billionaires like casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to spend millions to buy Mitt Romney.

Special interest money is flowing through Washington like water and yes, Republicans have the monetary advantage this cycle. But the corrupting influence of money afflicts both parties -- and the losers are the people who take second fiddle to the corporate interests who are adept at purchasing the Best Congress Money Can Buy.

Into this fray stepped Charles Schumer and Chris van Hollen, who have taken very prominent roles in raising money for Democratic congressional candidates. Cynics would suggest their interest is fueled because they know the decks are stacked.

Nevertheless, they proposed something very basic for the political health of our nation:
To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.
Republicans have responded to business as usual in Washington well, with business as usual. Listen to Senate Minority Leader Mitch "One-Term for Obama" McConnell:
“This amounts to nothing more than member and donor harassment and intimidation, and it’s all part of a broader government-led intimidation effort by this administration,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, who once advocated broader disclosure but has become the legislation’s fiercest critic.
The over-the-top rhetoric is the sort of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution, which is mute on the concept of government of the highest bidder as sanctioned by the Roberts Court.

It is worth mentioning again that the supposedly bipartisan, "independent" Brown voted to even allow debate on the topic that is rotting Congress from the inside out.

And it's also worth a mention that Brown has been silent on this topic, as he is on virtually anything that doesn't involve his family or Elizabeth Warren's heritage.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did the bill have a threshold of reporting only donations over 10,000 dollars? Why not report them all?

July 18, 2012 5:39 AM  

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